Consummatum est. Tanan Natapus Na. That was how Bag-ong Kusog opened its report on the Cebu City Charter that took effect on February 24, 1937.

“Consummatum est,” was what former presidente (mayor) Fructuoso Ramos told a gathering in Sine Acme of the outgoing Cebu municipal councilors on the eve of the Cebu City Charter taking effect, according to Bag-ong Kusog. The report was published in the February 26, 1937 edition of the weekly.

It was already Lent by then, with Ash Wednesday taking place two weeks previously, and this may have been the prompt for the former mayor’s Biblical reference. It was Ramos, for whom the F. Ramos Street is named, who signed a resolution in 1931 requesting the legislature to pass a city charter for Cebu.

Bag-ong Kusog headlined the article as, “Ang Bag-ong Adlaw nga Misidlak…” or the new day that dawned. The councilors were all unseated with the new charter, “napapha ug gihurot ug silhig ni Presidente Quezon, aron ilisdan sa bag-ong hunta munisipal sa karta espisyal sa Sugbu.” (erased from their posts and swept away by President Quezon and replaced by a new council under the new charter of Cebu.)

The reason why all the councilors were replaced was apparently because they opposed the new Cebu City Charter.

“Wala silay katarungan ug katawanan kaayo nga sila masuko tungod lang kay walay gisublian kanila sa katungdanan…Unsaon pagtudlo kanila ni Quezon nga sila misupak man ug migubat sa karta espisyal sa Sugbu,” according to the column Siling Kulikut bylined as “pinaikis ni Oliveros.” (They don’t have the right and it’s funny that they are angry because they were not reappointed to the council. How can they be named to the council when they opposed and fought the special charter for Cebu?)

The weekly reported that many who were known to have opposed the charter were seen to have joined the celebration. These included leaders of the chamber of commerce and Rotary in Cebu.

“Mga hamiling pangulo ug sakop sa kamara sa komersyo ug mga rotaryo sa Sugbu, nga sa paglantugi sa karta misupak kutob sa nahimo, among nakita nga sa mga pangilin mitambong ug nanagsaad nga sila motabang sa bag-ong kagamhanan.”

“Mga magsusulat nga sa mga miaging adlaw nagtunlub sa ilang dagang sa ata sa kapungut batuk sa karta, mitambung upod ug miduyog sa kalipay sa tanan.” (Writers who in past days dipped their quill in the ink of anger against the charter, attended and joined in the celebration.)

Interior Secretary Elpidio Quirino represented the national government and was brought to Cebu by the coast guard vessel “Banahaw.” He was expected at 8 am but with the bad weather and the slow boat, he arrived at noon and many of those who waited to welcome him left the port area for lunch. Still, more than 30,000 waited, the report said.

Bag-ong Kusog said that for the entire Charter Day event, more than 50,000 people joined.

Bag-ong Kusog reported that the ceremonies started at 12 noon, with a prayer by Archbishop Reyes, who said it in Spanish. Quirino then gave a long speech that was well-received by the crowd. President Quezon’s proclamation of February 24, 1937 as the start of the City of Cebu was then read. The new councilors then took their oath before Quirino, namely Manuel Roa, Leandro Tojong, Jose Nolasco, Dominador Abella, Diego Cañizares, Regino Mercado, Jose Fortich, and Felipe Pacaña. Mayor Alfredo Jacinto did not take his oath of office then because he already did it in Manila.

After the oath, Quirino then read the charter after which Mayor Jacinto gave his inaugural address. It was a long speech full of good insights and promises, said the weekly.

After the ceremonies, the group went to “Far Eastern Club” for lunch. The paper described it as “klub sa mga insik.” Quirino’s wife as well as the wives of the other officials were brought to Talisay for a picnic hosted by Mayor Jacinto’s wife.

Governor Sotero Cabahug then hosted dinner at Casino Español before Secretary Cuenco hosted his own dinner. There was a dance and reception at Club Filipino before Quirino’s group returned to the ship for their trip to Zamboanga, which the paper spelled as Sambowangga, for their turn to celebrate cityhood under their own charter and from there, to Davao for their own charter day. Bag-ong Kusog reported Quirino as saying that for the trip, he wasn’t just standing in for President Quizon but also served as his “mata” ug “dalunggan” or eyes and ears during the voyage.

The paper pointed out the conspicuous absence of the members of the previous council. They didn’t event attend, Bag-ong Kusog reported, the “champagne party.”

Max Limpag is a journalist, blogger, and developer based in Cebu. He started as a reporter covering Cebu City Hall in 1996. He has written on technology for various print and digital publications since...