City honors Mam Caling on her 16th death anniv

Mayor Beng Climaco on Thursday spearheaded activities commemorating the 16th death anniversary of Maria Clara ‘Mam Caling’ Lorenzo Lobregat, the first woman mayor of Zamboanga.

The activities kicked off with the 7am commemorative mass at the Holy Trinity Parish in Pasonanca and followed by the wreath-laying rite and brief program at Jardin Maria Clara or Butterfly Garden also in Pasonanca.

In her message, Mayor Climaco recognized Mam Caling for her contributions and efforts to help make Zamboanga City what it is today.

She said Mam Caling was a very passionate and dedicated mayor who only had the best interest of Zamboanga City and its people in mind.

The Lobregat family, represented by former District I Congressman Celso Lobregat and siblings Joemar and Ditas and other family members thanked the City Government for continuously organizing activities honoring Mam Caling.

Representatives from the different government and non-government agencies including the security sector, academe, barangays and other sectoral groups participated in the simple yet meaningful activity.

Mam Caling died of cardiac arrest in Manila while serving her second term as mayor on January 2, 2004, then at the age of 83. She was the second of 5 children of Don Pablo Lorenzo, who served as mayor of Zamboanga from 1939 to 1940.

Lobregat was present in Malacañan Palace on October 12, 1936 when President Manuel L. Quezon created and established the chartered city of Zamboanga through the Philippine Commonwealth. She was the second mayor of Zamboanga and also a representative to the Philippine Congress of Zamboanga City.

Mrs. Lobregat initiated the establishment of the Zamboang Ecozone and Freeport Authority, conversion of Zamboanga General Hospital to Zamboanga City Medical Center and the declaration of non-working holiday every Oct. 12 in celebration of Fiesta Pilar and numerous others. She was a “harsh critic of Moro National Liberation Front chair Nur Misuari, insisted that the controversial coconut levy funds were private funds; campaigned against the inclusion of her city in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao in the 1989 and 2001 plebiscite; ordered the Filipino deportees from Sabah in 2002 to be “screened” before entering her city, opposed the transfer of the regional seat from Zamboanga City to Pagadian City and was an avid supporter of the joint US-RP military exercise, Balikatan”, according to records. (Sheila Covarrubias)