Celso shares WMSU honor with constituents PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 17 July 2012 14:30

Deeply honored and humbled, Mayor Celso Lobregat yesterday accepted the honorary degree, Doctor of Humanities bestowed by the Western Mindanao State University (WMSU) and shared the honor to the constituents of Zamboanga who, he said, are the ultimate beneficiaries of the city’s endeavours.

“To be honored by a highly esteemed academic institution gives me mixed feelings and emotions, it most definitely warms my heart and touches the hearts of the over 800, 000 people of Zamboanga whom I represent. I accept this Honoris Causa not only for myself but mainly for the constituents of Zamboanga who are the ultimate beneficiaries of our endeavours. Thank you very much for recognizing our efforts,” the mayor said in his message after being conferred with the honoris causa in formal ceremonies held at the Dr. Juanito Bruno gymnasium in WMSU in Baliwasan yesterday morning.

The WMSU Board of Regents, headed by chair-designate Commissioner Nona Ricafort of the Commission on Higher Education approved Board Resolution No. 65, conferring on Mayor Lobregat, the honorary degree in recognition of his initiatives and efforts in addressing the many dimensions of human development.

Lobregat, is the first mayor of the city of Zamboanga to be conferred with the honor by the WMSU. “This is indeed a very humbling experience because in your 108 years of existence and 34 years as a university, this is the very first Honoris Causa that the Western Mindanao State University is conferring on a mayor of the City of Zamboanga. Muchas gracias por este gran honor y privilejio. This is definitely a once in a lifetime experience. Muchisimas Gracias!”.

The ceremony was presided by Commissioner Ricafort and graced by Aurora Province Congressman Juan Edgardo “Sonny” Angara, Education Secretary Bro. Armin Luistro, WMSU administration officials headed by Dr. Milabel Ho, members of the City Council headed by Vice Mayor Cesar Iturralde, department heads, the mayor’s children—Looie and Celso Marco and brother Jomar, officials from the academic community and WMSU teaching and non-teaching staff, students and other guests.

Dr. Lobregat was humble enough to say that he would not have received such recognition from WMSU were it not for the guidance and protection of the Divine Providence and the commitment, dedication and support of all officials and employees of the city government of Zamboanga. “They made all our initiatives achievable and feasible and tangible.  They are responsible for this accomplishment.

The mayor stressed that his commitment to public service is a continuation of not only a tradition but a legacy that started from his late grandfather Don Pablo Lorenzo, the second mayor of Zamboanga and who served as former Secretary of Education and Public Works and Highways and chair of the Development Bank of the Philippines to his late mother, Maria Clara Lobregat, former congressman and former mayor of Zamboanga.

The city’s initiatives and programs, he said, encompass all aspects and transcend race, color and religion and are meant to respond to the many dimensions of human development.

Through sound fiscal management, he said, “our administration has been able to strike an equitable balance between implementation of projects and the steady delivery of basic social services.”

Priority programs of the city include education, poverty alleviation, health, housing and resettlement, sports, environmental protection, peace and security and the promotion of cultural heritage among others, he emphasized. He talked in length about the city’s investment in education, which he said is the key to eliminating poverty and ultimately the key to a better future for the city.

A lot of activities are going on in Zamboanga to spur progress and development, but the mayor pointed out that “all of these are being done with passion, dedication and commitment—not because of the awards, recognitions or citations, for one’s value in life is not determined by accolades or worldly success.”

The newly-honored Dr. Lobregat also hailed WMSU, now under the leadership of Dr. Milabel Enriquez-Ho,  and which he describe to be an institution of higher learning that has become the core of renewed hope and optimism. “The past years have born witness to the university’s growth and transformations, triumphs and challenges. It has withstood critical crossroads and I am impressed with how well the university was able to overcome all insurmountable odds without losing sight of its academic vision.”

“As it starts afresh with the investiture of its fifth president—Dr. Milabel Enriquez-Ho this afternoon, the university, with 16 colleges and 15,294 students as well as 566 teaching and 160 non-teaching positions, is paving the way for new and positive development. Dr. Milabel Ho, I congratulate you and I wish you all the best and my prayers, as your job as President of WMSU is indeed a very challenging and not an easy task”, the mayor said.

“And today, I say, with its genuine and sturdy commitment to education, the City Government will be your staunch ally in your quest for excellence and quest for a better future. I still have one year to go as mayor and hopefully within this year the city government can come up with something concrete that will inspire and motivate our students and the entire WMSU community. We do not make promises, we just deliver”, the mayor declared eliciting loud applause from the WMSU community.

Undoubtedly, he said, the city and WMSU have shared cordial relations in the past years “but what brought us together here today ensures renewed ties and adds more value to the existing alliance.”

The mayor concluded his message by thanking the WMSU Board of Regents for the honor bestowed on him, the Commission on Higher Education under Dr. Patricia Licuanan, Dr. Milabel Ho and WMSU Alumni Regent Charlie Mariano for the support and for recognition of his efforts. He likewise thanked Cong. Angara and Education Sec. Luistro for gracing the event despite their busy schedule.

The WMSU in its citation, read during the conferment by Dr. Ho, cited Mayor Lobregat’s leadership by example, strong political will and adherence to the principle of doing things right and doing what is right even though at times,  it may not be popular. “As two-term Congressman and three-term Mayor, he presided over the transformation of Zamboanga as a livable, dynamic and empowered City. His distinguished record of service as a public servant rightfully deserves this commendation.”

The honor is bestowed on Mayor Lobregat on the basis of his exemplary performance as public servant—both as congressman and as local chief executive that include significant legislations, top priority for education, concern for the health of the constituents, sound fiscal management, staunch defense of the city’s sovereignty and integrity, preservation and conservation of the Chabacano language, promotion of literacy and championing of anti-human trafficking advocacy. — Sheila Covarrubias