Lobregat on CCC: ‘We have seen in him courage to fight for freedom PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 15 November 2012 15:11

Mayor Celso Lobregat yesterday joined Zamboangueños in paying tribute to the city’s legendary Mayor Cesar Cortez Climaco, saying “we have seen in him the courage to fight for freedom not for himself nor for his family, but for the nation in the brink of chaos and unrest brought by the martial rule.”

“The life (and even the death) of Mayor Climaco had enthused and continues to inspire Zamboangueños and Filipinos to rise up to the oppression of those in power,” Lobregat said during the commemorative program, marking Climaco’s 28th Death Anniversary dubbed “Dia de Cesar” at the Freedom Park in Abong-Abong.

He said Mayor Climaco’s death 28 years ago was regarded as the pinnacle of his crusade against the dictatorial regime. “He epitomized bravery and courage. He defied all odds and the power that be in defense of freedom. He may not have lived longer enough to see and experience the fruit of his fight, but the heroism and the valor in him linger on, for which we are here to pay him a tribute.”

Also present during the program were Vice Mayor Cesar Iturralde together with some members of the City Council, city department heads and employees, members of the Climaco family headed Dr. Cesar Climaco Jr., son of the late mayor.

The program was preceded by a mass at Sta. Maria Parish Church followed by wreath lying at the CCC Marker along Gov. Alvarez St. from where a motorcade headed for the Freedom Park in Abong-Abong for the commemorative program.

Part of the activity was the on-the-spot painting competition among the hearing-impaired students of the Zamboanga City High School Main’s Special Education (SPED) Program.

Renaber Benito placed first with P3,000 cash prize, followed by Juvelyn Lahagan in second place with P2,000 cash; Lolita Tanggoco placed third with P1,000 cash; Samson Larry placed 4th place with P400; and Edel Ramos in the 5th place with P500. Non-winners received a consolation prize of P300 each.

Mayor Climaco had worked as janitor to earn his education and eventually became a lawyer, but his rise to political power was simply motivated by public service, having been a city councilor in 1951. Within two years, at the age of 37, he was appointed mayor of Zamboanga City and held the post until the following year.

In 1955, he ran and first won the mayoralty post of the Zamboanga under the Liberal Party and served in such capacity until 1961. He became a national figure, and known for his personal courage as shown by his willingness to venture alone out to hotspots.

On the morning of Nov. 14, 1984, Mayor Climaco rushed to the scene of a fire that had broken out along Gov. Alvarez St (fronting La Merced Memorial Homes).  He supervised operations to put the fire out, and then prepared to leave.

Mayor Climaco then mounted his motorcycle to return to his office, when a gunman still unknown to this time approached from behind and shot the mayor in the nape at point-blank range. He was rushed to the hospital but was pronounced dead on arrival. He was 64 years old. — Vic Larato