Beng gets Masterson Award PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 28 March 2014 11:11

The Xavier University- Ateneo de Cagayan yesterday conferred on Mayor Beng Climaco the Fr. William F. Masterson SJ Award, a special award given to individuals who render outstanding service to the community for the growth and development of the country, especially of Mindanao.

The conferment of the special award highlighted the 75th Commencement Exercises of Xavier University with Social Welfare Secretary Dinky Soliman as guest of honor.

Quoting from its website, the Xavier University said Mayor Climaco “has done tremendous work in her home city, rallying the Zamboangueños to rebuild Zamboanga after the MNLF siege in 2013”. The graduates, faculty and staff honoured Mayor Climaco with a standing ovation.

In her acceptance speech, the mayor dedicated the award to all the residents of Zamboanga particularly the heroes of the September siege and most especially to the members of the Society of Jesus of the Ateneo de Zamboanga University.

“Mil gracias a Dios con el Universidad de Xavier por este reconocimiento,” Mayor Climaco said in chabacano. “All praise and thanks be to God and the Nuestra Señora La Virgen del Pilar”.

The chief executive recounted her political journey starting from being a member of the City Counci, Vice Mayor, Congressional representative and later Deputy House Speaker for Mindanao and eventually as mayor of the city.

The September siege, she said is considered as the toughest challenge confronted by her 9-month old administration.  “We protected the sovereignty of our country under one flag, one nation and one Zamboanga. We paid a high cost for freedom, some 200 people died and close to 120,000 people displaced and the UN declared it a humanitarian crisis.”

As mayor of Zamboanga City, Climaco stressed, she had to be strong especially for the children who suffered the brunt of the conflict. “It is for these children that I accept this recognition today”.

After the siege and the internally displaced persons housed in evacuation centers and transitory sites, the mayor is spearheading the city’s recovery and rehabilitation efforts.

“We expect to build more than 7,000 homes, although the future might be difficult, and yet today I stand before you today to ask you here in Cagayan, those in Bohol and the Yolanda victims of Tacoloban, juntu-junto quita lebanta para un mas mejor ciudad”, she added.

Among the guests present were Xavier University president Bobby Yap, Cagayan de Oro Archbishop Ledesma, Administration Council members and numerous others. — Sheila Covarrubias