Lobregat names history, culture gab participants as city’s tourism envoys PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 27 January 2011 16:50

Mayor Celso Lobregat yesterday hailed as Zamboanga City’s ambassadors of tourism and goodwill the participants of the National Conference on Mindanao History and Culture being spearheaded by the Zamboanga City State Polytechnic College.

“Zamboanga City is the cradle of history and culture in Mindanao, where Christians and Muslims live in peace and harmony. I ask all of you, especially those coming from other parts of the country to be our ambassadors of tourism and goodwill,” Mayor Lobregat stressed in his welcome remarks during the opening program of the three-day conference with the theme “Appreciating Peace and Development Issues in Mindanao through Understanding History and Culture.

Lobregat lamented that people living outside the city would think that Zamboanga is a security risk and a dangerous place. “Now that you are here, you can actually see for yourselves that such biases and misconceptions against Zamboanga are not true. When you go back to your respective places you can tell (them) that Zamboanga is actually very peaceful,” he told the conference participants.

The city chief executive also cited Chabacano, the city’s widely-spoken Spanish-derivative language, as the reason for Zamboanga to standout among all other cities in the country and the entire Asia. “It is only in Zamboanga where the majority population speak, converse and understand Chabacano on a daily basis, thus Zamboanga’s new branding as Asia’s Latin City.”

He also briefed the participants on the city’s historical background as reflected in its official logo in which the symbols of Christianity (The Cross) and Islam (The Crescent Moon) are dominant over other landmarks like Fort Pilar and City Hall; a fish that symbolizes the city’s being the country’s sardine’s capital, and the vinta with colorful sail, of which the city is popular as well.

The mayor likewise took pride of being the son of the late Mayor Maria Clara L. Lobregat who was elected mayor of the city in 1998 and whose father Don Pablo Lorenzo because the city’s second mayor in 1939.

Also part of the mayor’s message was the city’s efforts at keeping peace and development in Zamboanga and Mindanao as a whole even as he cited an event in 2008 when he, along with other local executives in Mindanao, went to the Supreme Court against the memorandum of agreement on ancestral domain (MOA-AD) which the national government was to forge with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).

Meanwhile, Dr. Nora Ponce, president of the ZCSPC, was confident that the convention will be able “to gradually fulfill our noble mandate with distinction for making peace as our prevailing asset in transacting positive change in this community and in the world.”

“There is a convincing argument that has been put forward by many scholars that we approach the stage of an ideal society when human beings no longer suffer the abuse of their various rights, and everyone lives in harmony with their neighbors,” Dr. Ponce said as she thanked the faculty and staff of the College of Arts and Sciences of ZCSPC for organizing the convention.

“This belief,” she continued, “is based on the firm conviction that human beings are born good and human history ultimately is steered by human reason.” She lamented, however, that today’s world does not yet witness then ideal society as the task of achieving universal respect for the rights of an individual or respect for other’s thoughts remain demoralizing.

“Violators still persist in this world. We hear of innumerable instances of abuse from various regions. But then we must not stay contented with these conditions, lest we consider them as normal occurrences,” the first woman president of the ZCSPC said, adding that the inherent dignity of all members of the human family is the very foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world.

Also present during the program were Dr. Emmylou B. Yanga, regional director of the Commission on Higher Education, professors and researchers from other institutions of higher learning as resource persons. — Vic Larato