Lawmaker: Queen Sofia’s visit a welcome development-A A +A
By Bong Garcia
Friday, July 6, 2012
HOUSE Deputy Speaker for Mindanao Maria Isabelle Climaco-Salazar said the visit of Queen Sofia of Spain to Zamboanga City on Thursday was a welcome development for the city.
Salazar, who is this city’s first district congresswoman, said the Spanish government, through self-sustaining programs, had been extensively helping identified communities in Zamboanga City through non-government organizations (NGOs).
Queen Sofia and her entourage that include Spanish Ambassador to the Philippines Jorge Domecq arrived in this city at 9:15 a.m. Thursday.
Queen Sofia visited several Spanish-funded projects that include housing projects, Akay Kalinga for street children, Zamboanga City Medical Center (ZCMC), and schools.
One of the schools the Queen visited was the Claret School, which is run by Spanish priests who composed of the Claretian Missionary Fathers (CMF).
“The partnership between these two countries (Philippines and Spain) had a long history. The fruit of this partnership are the various initiatives that they have generously extended to us,” Salazar said.
“In my capacity as first district representative, our office has likewise partnered with Instituto de Cervantes of Manila to propagate the Spanish language as something very dear to our creole the Chabacano, so the visit has only strengthened all these initiatives,” Salazar added.
Instituto Cervantes is a worldwide non-profit organization created by the Spanish government in 1991.
It is the largest organization in the world dedicated to the teaching of the Spanish language and increasing knowledge of culture in Latin-American Countries.
At present, Instituto Cervantes has 77 centers in 44 different countries.
Its mission is to promote the teaching, study and use of Spanish as a second language, and to contribute to the advancement of Spanish and Latin-American cultures throughout the world.
Aside from visiting Spanish-funded projects, Queen Sofia also offered prayers, flowers, and lighted candles at the Royal Fort of Our Virgin Lady of the Pillar of Zaragoza also known as Fort Pilar.
Fort Pilar is a 17th century military defense fortress built by the Spanish colonial government in Zamboanga City.
Fort Pilar is a major landmark and a symbol of Zamboanga City’s cultural heritage.
Zamboanga City is only one of the three areas visited by Queen Sofia during her stay in the Philippines.
The two other places visited by Queen Sofia are Albay and Manila.
Meanwhile, Mayor Celso Lobregat has expressed gratitude to the residents of Zamboanga City for the rousing welcome accorded to Queen Sofia of Spain during her majesty’s visit to this city on Thursday.
Lobregat also thanked the military and police and the National Intelligence Coordinating Agency (Nica) and all offices of the City Government that helped in the successful turn out of the historical visit of the Queen.
“The rousing welcome we accorded the Queen is definitely a big boost to the peaceful image of the city of Zamboanga,” he stressed.
He described the visit of the Queen Sofia, the first highest foreign dignitary to visit this city, as a monumental event for Zamboanga City