Dia di Cesar to kick off Nov. 13 PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 12 November 2015 13:21

By SHEILA COVARRUBIAS

 

Dia di Cesar which marks the 31st death anniversary of Mayor Cesar C. Climaco will kick off Friday, Nov. 13 with the Boy and Girl Scouts vigil at the Climaco Freedom Park in Abong-abong Pasonanca at 6:30pm.

At 9:30pm the same day, Mayor Beng Climaco and the Jaycee Zamboanga will lead in the wreath-laying and candle lighting ceremony at the assassination site along Gov. Alvarez St.

On Saturday, Nov. 14, the event will start with a commemorative mass at the Pasonanca Parish Church to be attended by City Government officials and employees, members of the Climaco family and representatives from the different sectors.

The mass will be followed by the wreath-laying and commemorative program at the Climaco Freedom Park in Abong-abong, Pasonanca which will be highlighted by the unveiling of the CCC Installation Art and the Poster-making contest.

Cesar Climaco, the uncle of incumbent Mayor Beng Climaco, served as the city’s chief executive for 11 years during which he was an outspoken critic against corruption and in particular against the martial law regime of then President Ferdinand Marcos.    His assassination on November 14, 1984 in Gov. Alvarez Street remains unsolved up to this time.

The commemoration of the Dia di Cesar every November 14 is pursuant to an ordinance approved by the City Council with the aim of perpetuating the memory of the legendary mayor.

Cesar Cortes Climaco was born on February 28, 1916 to Gregoria Climaco and Isabelita Cortes. He had 2 brothers and 2 sisters- Rafael a lawyer who became a Justice in the Court of Appeals; Jose or Jolly also a lawyer who became vice-mayor of Zamboanga and whose daughter Beng is now the incumbent mayor; Leticia, who married a prominent physician in the city, Dr. Espiridion Alvarez; and Lydia.

Cesar’s political career began when he ran for the City Council in 1953, an election which he won overwhelmingly. It was in the same year that he was designated as Mayor of Zamboanga. In 1954, he became the Chief Project Manager and Field Coordinator of Operation Brotherhood in Vietnam, a position which he served until 1955, and which won him international recognition. He came back to Zamboanga in 1956 and ran in the first election ever held for the position of mayor in the city. Cesar went up against an appointive Mayor, Hector Suarez, and had for his running mate Dr. Tomas Ferrer under the banner of the Liberal Party. Cesar won in that election, giving him the distinction of being the first elected mayor of Zamboanga City.

Cesar Climaco served as mayor from 1953-1954; 1956-1961 and 1980- 1984.  — Sheila Covarrubias