I was accompanying my classmate in photocopying a requirement when I noticed something different from our University over-pass. I was surprised when I saw that there was a banner/tarpaulin with a large print that says “No Te Vayas de Zamboanga (Don’t Leave Zamboanga)” and on the bottom part of the quote was the 1st District Congressman-Representative Former-Mayor Celso Lobregat’s signature.
I don’t know what to react. I just smiled and said “Oh, there’s a new banner”. I don’t even know if what is the purpose of that “ad”.
The next day, I have seen tricycles and near-by school gates with the same hanged posters. I realized that the tarp actually is a campaign of the said ex-mayor. With its red background and simple quotation, basically it says something. A reminder perhaps.
In lieu of the siege that happened in the City of Zamboanga last September 2013, the place bagged as Asia’s Latin City,surely made a bad remark on the Filipinos. Those impressions left the city deduced-off of its tourism and other aspects which made Zamboanga one of the leading cities in Mindanao. Unfortunately, it was not just about the inflicted war which made it a not-so-attracted city per se. Months and years ago, it experienced tremendous crisis such as Blackouts (or power-shortage), calamities, bombings, etc. The old “Asia’s Latin City” then was jokingly called “Asia’s terrorist City“, or the worst, “Asia’s Blackout City”
Surely then, Zamboanga along with its victims and sufferers, strive to make good out of the worst. After the series of crisis, was there really a way for Zamboanguenos to STAY in Zamboanga?
Putting aside the issue, I laughed at what I saw on a Facebook post from my colleague on Ateneo regarding about the tarpaulin ad.
On another note, it gave me an idea to search on Google Translate of what the text on the tarp really meant:
On a more serious side, an article published by Zamboanga Times stated the Mayor’s objectives clearly in doing the said project. Quoted;
District 1 Representative Celso Lobregat, who set off the campaign, said Zamboanguenos should have trust and confidence in the potentials and capabilities of Zamboanga before invitations to invest and explore the city be extended to out of towners.
“Zamboanga is our home, Zamboaga [sic] is our city, if you do not love and care for our city, who else will? How can we ask people from outside to invest and come and visit us if we have that shadow of doubt?”
“This (campaign) will send the strong message to all and sundry that we have faith, trust and we have hope in our city. We will not allow people who want Zamboanguenos to abandon Zamboanga so they can take over, this is to show that we are here to stay”.
Bottomline: For me, one should not put any fuss or shenanigans against the tarp. It was just a reminder for everyone, not only Zamboanguenos, but as well as citizens from other places, to not forget where they came from, just because the city’s name was put-to-shame with what happened as its history. At the end of the day, they were just officials, who love the city so much that they want it to be loved as well. I find nothing wrong with the ad. The way it was presented, I surely agree with the theme: Do not Leave Zamboanga!
Al-John Ahmad, a Zamboangueno