Hordes of people representing different sectors in the city yesterday morning joined the simple but meaningful ceremony marking the 151st birth anniversary of national hero Dr. Jose Rizal at the monument fronting City Hall.
School children, boy scouts and girl scouts and representatives from national and local government agencies including private groups and non-government organizations offered flowers at the monument of the national hero in recognition of Rizals contributions to the Filipino nation.
Mayor Celso Lobregat, who spearheaded the Zamboanga celebration, highlighted in his speech Jose Rizals life and lovesthe side of Rizal that is not acknowledged in the many books and write ups about the national hero.
Quoting an article published in the Mabuhay magazine, the mayor said, like the men of the present generation, Rizal lived and loved citing names of women who were linked and became Rizals inspirations.
The mayor likewise paid tribute to Rizal as a man who abhorred violence and bloodshed in fighting against the malpractices of foreign invasion. Rizal, he said was an exceptional man gifted with many skills and talents.
He may have not been fully supportive of violence and bloodshed but Rizal demonstrated his strong sense of nationalism by bravely facing his own death. He could have given up the cause to appease the Spaniards. He could have begged for his life and expressed loyalty to the Spanish crown. But he instead chose to die to awaken the sense of nationalism in his countrymen, Mayor Lobregat declared.
He emphasized: Rizal did not believe in using violence to achieve his cause. He did not shy away from exposing the true nature of the Spanish colonizers. In his lifetime, Rizal was the very essence of peace, truth and justice.
The Zamboanga celebration was a joint undertaking of the city government and the Order of the Knights of Rizal-Zamboanga chapter headed by Area commander for Western Mindanao Domingo Falcasantos.
The program kicked off with the flag raising ceremony and was capped by an oratorical piece entitled Jose Rizal Haligi ng Bayan delivered by Grade 6 student Rogan Macario of the Tetuan Central School.
Also present during the program were Vice Mayor Cesar Iturralde, Councilors Myra Paz Abubakar, VP Elago, Eduardo Saavedra, Nonong Guingona, Jimmy Cabato, Percival Ramos, Rudy Lim and Councilor Abdurahman Nuno.