MAYOR Ma. Isabelle Climaco-Salazar, first district Representative Celso Lobregat and Vice Mayor Cesar Iturralde led the commemoration Sunday of Dia de Mam Caling, marking the 94th birth anniversary of the late Mayor Maria Clara Lobregat.
Lobregat was Zamboanga City’s first woman mayor.
The commemoration kicked off with a Mass at the Holy Trinity Parish in Pasonanca followed by the opening of the exhibit of Mam Caling’s memorabilia at the Museo de Zamboanga and wreath laying at the Jardin Maria Clara.
Salazar the series of activities “is a show of love for a very wonderful lady, who was a leader and exemplary woman.”
“She also taught me to be a woman, she taught me that I should fight and always to remember that I am a woman -- that was Mam Caling Lobregat,” she added.
She recalled special moments with the mayor especially during the latter’s birthday celebrations where she lavished her guests with food and entertainment.
Representative Lobregat, eldest son of the late mayor, presented some mementos of his mother that included publications and personal effects like chaleco and t-shirts used during election campaigns.
He said his mother’s advocacy for the coconut industry led to the implementation of the Cocofed scholarship program.
She also fought against the inclusion of Zamboanga in the Southern Philippines Council for Peace and development (SPCPD), one of the activities resulting from the peace agreement between the government and the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) during the administration of President Fidel Ramos.
“Everybody has his own fond memories of Mam Caling but perhaps I will say Mam Caling was a very compassionate, very caring person but at the same time she was courageous. She was very amiable but was very assertive when she needed to make a stand on issues, she was very independent,” Lobregat said.
Iturralde said Mam Caling was “many things, a leader and a mentor.”
“For many of us, she was larger than life because when she became this City’s first woman chief executive, she became a mother to us all,” Iturralde said. (Bong Garcia)