ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / Apr. 26, 2008) - Hundreds of people on Saturday gathered in Zamboanga City to commemorate the birth anniversary of the late Maria Clara Lobregat.
Lobregat, a known philanthropist who died from diabetic complications in January 2, 2004, was considered by the locals as one of Zamboanga's greatest leaders.
Droves of people gathered at the Jardin de Maria Clara in Pasonanca Park to offer flowers and to remember good memories of erstwhile mayor on her 87th birth anniversary dubbed as Dia de Madam Caling.
Maria Clara or Caling was born on April 2, 1921 in Zamboanga City as the second child of the five children of Spanish-Filipino Don Pablo Lorenzo who was a mayor of Zamboanga City, a representative to the first Philippine Assembly and a delegate to the Philippine Constitutional Convention, and Luisa Rafols of Cebu City.
Lobregat was the first woman mayor of Zamboanga and also served as representative to the Philippine Congress. Her son, Celso, became representative to the former lone district of Zamboanga City in 1998 and later a mayor in 2004 until the present.
"I thank the City Council for passing an ordinance making Dia de Madam Caling on her birthday, not on the day she died, because we want to have good memories and all of us remember our personal and collective memories of Madam Caling," he said.
The 21st mayor of Zamboanga City, Lobregat, started her political career in 1971 when she was elected as the city's delegate to the Constitutional Convention. She ran for the position of regional representative to the Batasang Pambansa in the early 1980s but lost to the more colorful Cesar C. Climaco. In 1987, she ran for Zamboanga City's congressional seat and won the election.
She was considered as one of the greatest political leader in the Philippines because of her many achievements and love for humanity. (With a report from Claudine Uniana)