Zambo to mark ‘Dia de Alvarez’ tomorrow PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 17 May 2012 15:18

The city government will lead Zamboangueños in the celebration of “Dia de Gen. Vicente S. Alvarez” on Friday, May 18, pursuant to City Ordinance No. 334 of 2008.

A commemorative program will be held on Friday to be led by Mayor Celso Lobregat and relatives of Zamboangueño hero, Gen. Alvarez at his monument on Normal Road, Baliwasan. The program will be preceded by wreath-laying ceremony.

Winners of the essay-writing contest on Gen. Alvarez will be announced during the program.

Born on April 5, 1862, Gen. Alvarez was the 5th son of Don Alejo Alvarez y Villasis and Isadora Solis. He finished his early education at the Liceo de Zamboanga at inside the fort. He later went to Ateneo de Manila and, with a scholarship from the government, he enrolled at the Spanish Military Academy. The closing of the academy cut his studies short. He then joined the Spanish government service as cuarto official in Mindanao. Largely through his father’s friendship with Governor-General Romano Blanco, he was promoted to segundo mayor, with offices in Malacanang. Here he saw first hand the brutalities on Filipinos by the Spaniards, which drove him into the Katipunan fold.

On February 15, 1895, the young Alvarez was sent by the Spanish government on a special mission to Jolo, to patch up the differences between Sultan Kiram II and Datu Jukarnain. Alvarez’s tact and strong personality brought the warring factions together, and peace reigned in Jolo, an achievement for which the Sultan conferred on him the title of “Datu Tumaggung” with all the privileges and the authority to rule over the subjects of the sultan in Zamboanga and Basilan. Alvarez personally reported to the governor-general about the accomplishment of this mission.

When he returned to Zamboanga, Alvarez gathered all the able-bodied men—Christians and Muslims including the convicted and the condemned, all to be under his command to fight a common enemy, first the Spaniards and then the Americans. When the revolution broke out in Zamboanga in March 1898, Vicente Alvarez along with Isidro Midel and Melencio Calixto was appointed head of the revolutionary government in Zamboanga and Basilan with the rank of brigadier general of the infantry. As such, Alvarez ordered Col. Victorio Oloriz, then chief of staff of the Spanish forces in Zamboanga, to surrender. Alvarez and his men then besiege the Spanish garrison. In short and bloody battle that followed, Gen. Gonzales Monteiro was mortally wounded and relinquished his post to Oloriz. This put an end to the battle, and the revolutionary forces took complete control of Zamboanga. — Vic Larato