THE celebration of Zamboanga City's 72nd charter anniversary kicked off Tuesday with a cheer dance competition held at Joaquin F. Enriquez Jr. Memorial Sports Complex (JFEJMSC).

The cheer dance competition, which started at 1 p.m. Tuesday, was participated by several elementary and secondary schools in Zamboanga City.

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Mayor Celso Lobregat said this year's charter anniversary is themed “Zamboanga: Probao y Aprobao (proven and approved),” which is in reference to the City Government’s track record of performance and accomplishments.

Lobregat said former senator Franklin Drilon has been invited as the keynote speaker of the charter day celebration on Friday, February 26.

A grand civic-military parade at 1 p.m. will kick off the Dia de Zamboanga on February 26.

This will be followed by the competicion de selyo de Zamboanga and the drum and lyre competition and the commemorative program at the JFEJMSC.

Other activities include Medical-Dental-Surgical Mission and feeding program by the Lingkod Timog Volunteers.

Post Dia de Zamboanga activities include the 13th Celso L. Lobregat Cup Dart Tournament from February 26-27 at the Ram’s Beer garden and other activities sponsored by private groups.

Zamboanga is considered one of the country’s oldest cities, having been established in 1635 and is one of the first charted cities and the sixth largest in the country.

It is also one of several cities in the Philippines that are independent of any province.

Philippine Commonwealth Act 39 of 1936 signed by then President Manuel L. Quezon on October 12, 1936 in Malacañang Palace created and established Zamboanga as a chartered city.

However, it was only on February 26, 1937 when the first appointed officials of the city led by then Mayor Nicassio Valderozza were formally sworn into office -- the reason for the celebration of the 72nd Charter Day anniversary on February 26. (Bong Garcia)