“Together, we will make additions. United, we will multiply.”
This is the battle cry inspired by Mayor Celso Lobregat during the State of Performance and State of Development Forum held on the rainy morning of June 22, 2013 at the Mayor Vitaliano D. Agan Coliseum. Lobregat, who was only counting days before officially yielding his three-term mayoralty position to the incoming Mayor-elect, Ma. Isabelle Climaco, on June 30, was not only for making a graceful exit with the presentation of the different achievements his leadership was able to accomplish, but he also used the opportunity to pave the way for a powerful entrance. Having been elected as Congressman for the first district of Zamboanga City, the forum was more than just a turnover of power, duties, and responsibilities to the incoming Climaco administration but an invitation for the multi-sectoral audience to once again reaffirm their support for him as he dons a new political cap for the advancement of the city.
The forum was mainly attended by the members of the education and public safety sectors led by their chief officials, Pedro Melchor Natividad as the Schools Division Superintendent and Sr. Spt. Edwin De Ocampo as the City Police Director. As members of education sector, representatives from the different Institutions of Higher Education all over the city were invited, Western Mindanao State University included. Officials of Task Force Zamboanga, Bureau of Fire Protection, and Bureau of Jail Management and Penology under the public safety sector were also present.
Before taking his leave as Mayor on June 30, Lobregat presented how his nine years of leadership as the city’s chief executive changed, improved, and bolstered Zamboanga’s development in terms of education and public safety. Included in his presentation were the different initiatives realized by his administration. His commendable support for education through the construction and improvement of school buildings and infrastructure, the subsidization of city-sponsored teaching items, and the increase of the city’s overall budget for educational purposes garnered nothing but praise from the national level through the person of Bro. Armin Luistro, Secretary of Education, who refers to Lobregat as “DepEd’s most generous supporter.” The public safety sector is by no means lagging behind inadvancement as the forum itself served as the avenue for the turnover of three of four city-procured fire trucks—the other onehaving been delivered at an earlier date—that signified only the minimal of the support it has received from the local government during the Lobregat administration.
Though dark clouds were looming on the outside, the atmosphere of the event taking place on the inside of the City Coliseum was that of celebration as Lobregat capped off the forum with the distribution of Gran Matador Brandy bottles to each person present. The brandy symbolized a toast for a job well done as well as the cheerful welcome to another promising term for Zamboanga City. The forum also gave way to the showcase of different talent renditions by both the educators and peace and safety keepers.
To paraphrase the Mayor’s parting words, “I do not want to say ‘I will make a difference’ because that entails subtraction. I’d rather make additions and multiplications.” Hence, the battle cry. He also grabbed the opportunity to appeal to everyone to show the same support they had for him to the incoming administration.
The forum shirked from any controversial issue and focused on commending the different attendees for each of their invaluable contribution that collectively led Zamboanga City to shine amidst the many challenges it has to face. Indeed, development could only be realized when every person shares and works toward the fulfillment of a common vision. Together, we add. United, we multiply. (STEPHANIE ROSE I. VARGAS, WMSU PUBLIC AFFAIRS OFFICE)