8th Dia de Roseller Lim set February 9 PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 07 February 2014 13:09

The city government will lead on Sunday, Feb. 9, the commemoration of the 99th birth anniversary of the late Senator Roseller T. Lim, one of the city’s illustrious sons.

The commemoration will kick off with a mass at the St. Joseph Church in Nuñez Street at 8:30am on Sunday, followed by a program and wreathlaying ceremony at the R.T. Lim Monument at Normal Road.

At 6pm on Sunday, Lim’s memorabilia exhibit will be opened coinciding with the awarding ceremony for the 5 Outstanding Zamboangueño Young Leaders, a joint undertaking of the City Government and the Zamboanga Jaycees, at the City Museum in Pasonanca.

Born on February 9, 1915, Roseller Tarrosa Lim was the oldest of nine children born to Don Antonio Lim and Mercedes Robinson-Tarrosa.

Fondly called “Ross” or “Ller” by family and friends, he was a known scholar and master debater of his high school class and graduated as Valedictorian from the Ateneo de Zamboanga High School.

He pursued and earned his Bachelor of Laws degree from Siliman University in Dumaguete City in 1940 and passed the bar examinations later that year with an 84.4% rating.

Prior to his stint in the political arena, he taught at the Ateneo de Zamboanga, served as the dean of the College of Law of the Zamboanga AE Colleges (now Universidad de Zamboanga) and as appointed as Fiscal of Zamboanga.

He became a staunch advocate of labor reforms and went on to found the Mindanao-Sulu-Palawan (MINSUPALA) Labor Organization, becoming its first president.

He was a member of the House of Representatives for six years and the Philippine Senate for eight years.

On July 5, 1976, Lim died from a fatal heart attack at the Makati Medical Center at the age of 61.

The First Zamboangueño Congressman

Lim became the first Zamboangueño to be elected to the House of Representatives for two terms – first, as the congressional representative of the whole Zamboanga Peninsula, and later of the newly-created province of Zamboanga del Sur.

He was lauded for his labor reforms. He introduced House Bills creating the Social Security System, providing for sickness, unemployment, retirement, disability and death benefits for employees and laborers. He worked on improving laws regulating the employment of women and children, and prescribed five days of labor weekly for all government employees and granting them extra compensation for overtime work.

In addition, he also authored House Bills for the establishment of a School of Fisheries in Zamboanga City and the conversion of the Zamboanga Trade School into the Zamboanga City Regional School of Arts and Trade.

The First Zamboangueño Senator

Lim also holds the distinction of being the first and only Zamboangueño to have won a seat in the Senate.

Among the bills which were enacted into law during his eight-year stint as Senator were those amending the Social Security Act, the Magna Carta of Labor, the Philippine Labor Code, the Women and Children Labor Law, the establishment of an Apprenticeship Training System in the Philippines and creation of the National Apprenticeship Council.

He likewise contributed to the inclusion of the Philippines in the International Labor Organization and the Immigration Committee in 1957.

But the late senator is perhaps best remembered as the Great Filibuster of the Senate. This was after his 18 ½ - hour long speech in his bid to conserve democracy in the country.

Later Years

Senator Lim became a delegate to the Constitutional Convention of 1971 and was among the 49 delegates (out of 250) who did not sign and ratify the so-called Marcos Constitution of 1972.

He was then appointed as Appellate Justice to the Court of Appeals. — Claudine Uniana/City Hall PIO