Celso: Shun transactional pols PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 10 April 2013 14:09

Despite the inclement weather, City Government officials and representatives from various agencies and sectors converged at the Rizal Park and Veterans Memorial early yesterday morning to honor and thank World War II Veterans in commemoration of Araw ng Kagitingan or day of valor.

Over a hundred World War II veterans –five of them over 90 years old and wheelchair-bound, including post commanders, spouses, sons and daughters and grand children —  were present, as the city paid tribute for their gallantry and heroism. The group was led by Veteran Leandro Pacio Jr., vice president of the Regional Veterans Federation and Vet. Raul Roldan, district commander of the Zamboanga Veterans Federation.

Mayor Celso Lobregat led in the activities that kicked off with the flag raising ceremony at the Rizal Park followed by the flower offering at the Veterans Memorial and subsequently the short program at the City Hall lobby. Joining in the ceremony were House Deputy Speaker and District 1 Rep. Beng Climaco, District II Rep. Erbie Fabian, Vice Mayor Cesar Iturralde, Councilors Myra Paz Abubakar, Luis Biel III and Percival Ramos, Western Mindanao Command chief LTGen. Rey Ardo, Police Regional Director PCSupt. Juanito Vaño, 3rd Air Division Chief MGen. Nicanor Vivar, Naval Forces-WM Deputy Commander Capt. Albert Mogol, Coast Guard District-Southwestern Mindanao Commander Commodore Leopoldo Laroya, City Police OIC Director Col. Edwin de Ocampo, PRO-9 Deputy commander Col. Ramon Ochotorena, City Department heads led by City Administrator Antonio Orendain Jr. and representatives from regional agencies and private groups.

Lobregat, who keynoted the commemoration, said Araw ng Kagitingan is a celebration of the valor of the Filipino veterans and soldiers stressing that the day was not only dedicated to those who served in the second world war but also for all those who continue to answer the call of duty to protect the people all from internal and external threats.  “Today, we also honor the men and women in our police and military forces who sacrifice their family and lives for the safety and protection of others.”

He emphasized that there is much that people can learn from history but in learning the lessons of the past, people should also free their hands to embrace the present. “Let us always strive to live harmoniously especially with those who do not share our views and beliefs. Let us focus on our commonality instead of our differences because that is the only way we can all live in peace.”

“Many years have passed since World War II. However, while the Philippines is no longer under threat of foreign rule, many Filipinos are still oppressed by poverty and corruption is still within our midst,” the mayor said stressing “today and for the next month we are in the campaign period leading to the elections and I would say as we celebrate Araw ng Kagitingan honoring those who fought for our freedom and independence it is just appropriate that we recall the threats from within and let us also recall the battlecry of our president—walang mahirap kung walang corrupt”.

He continued: “We are facing a war against poverty and that war starts by putting leaders into office who do not follow transactional politics. It all starts from there because if we allow so-called politicians or leaders who use the 3gs—goons, guns and gold or money then we will be forever in the shackles of these people. Beware of people who use money and who want to buy your votes, but if you sell your votes then we will never be able to free ourselves from corruption”.

And so as the City continues to move forward, Lobregat urged everyone—the young and the old alike “to remain vigilant against individuals who are but a pack of hungry wolves dressed in lamb’s clothing. These individuals are prone to putting on innocent facades claiming to follow the matuwid na daan while hiding their hideous heart, skillfully weaving lies into truths, always ready to pounce at any and every opportunity to sling mud while painting themselves as virtuous.”

The mayor likewise commended the Veterans Federation of the Philippines-Zamboanga Chapter for spearheading the annual commemoration of Araw ng Kagitingan in partnership with the City Government. He also took the opportunity to thank the group for giving him the support and the privilege to serve the city for 3 terms or 9 years  recalling that he has been with the group celebrating ARaw ng Kagitingan for the past 9 years as mayor. — Sheila Covarrubias