Friday, 12 August 2011 14:24
Today is the 41st death anniversary of my great grandfather, the former Governor of Zamboanga Peninsula and Mayor of Zamboanga City, Carlos Hernandez Camins Sr. famously known as Governor Camins. It is often said that people who know little about their origins know little about themselves. Learning about the past is the best way to understand the present and the future. It is my utmost pride to share with you his life story for the present and future Zamboanguenos.
Carlos Hernandez Camins was born in this City on November 4, 1887. He was the son of Francisco Enriquez Camins
and the former Maria Alvarez Hernandez Francisco Camins. He was a man of castillan stock, having descended from a Spanish navy Captain who decided to settle in Zamboanga. His mother was a descendant of a prominent Portuguese family who settled in the island of Cebu.
The young Camins was educated in Manila obtaining his AB degree from the Liceo De Manila. After graduation, he went into the field of Journalism dedicating most of his life to the community newspaper. He was the publisher and editor of weekly/ bi-weekly newspapers such as the prewar II "EL FENIX" and the "LA ANTORCHA" and the post war II "EL SUR". These newspapers were printed in the beautiful Spanish language as Camins wrote quite well in the Castillan language. He also taught Spanish at the Southern College and at the Zamboanga A.E Colleges.
In 1927, Camins temporarily set aside his pen and went into politics. The first position he occupied was Deputy Governor or "Delegado Governor" in Sibuco. The next was when he was "Tencer Vocal" of the Provincial Board. The board was composed of the provincial Governor who was elected, the provincial treasurer Nicasio Valderroza who was appointed, and a third member who was elected. Carlos Camins was the third member from 1928 to 1931 (at that time, elected positions were only for three years). He served his term with distinction and honor that there was a big mandate for him to run for the higher prestigious office of Provincial Governor in 1932.
Carlos Camins was elected Governor of Zamboanga in 1932 and served his term until 1935. Politics during that time was high - pirited, but it was on the whole, decent and more on "ISSUES" of the day. Camins was a Governor who had a great concern for the poor and the landless or homeless. He helped home - seekers to settle in homesteads by opening roads to vast agricultural lands in the Zamboanga Peninsula. He also laid-out plans for the construction of a sturdier bridge across the Tumaga River now known as the San Bernardino Bridge and also the Elementary School in San Roque. He was a man who did not know ethnic bias or prejudices. He created the so - called "CEBUANO BARRACKS" a settlement of Cebuano migrants who were still in the process of locating their homesteads. His administration appropriated a big sum of Eighty Thousand Pesos (P80,000.00). To construct
temporary shelters to these Cebuano's in the place that is now known as Aurora Zamboanga Del Sur. He assisted the Zamboanga Muslims in establishing Campo Islam, by relocating the Cawa-Cawa village to the Camp .At Government expense of Fifty thousand pesos (P50,000.00), thus paving the way for the construction of the famous Cawa - Cawa Boulevard (Now known as Roseller T. Lim Boulevard).
Camins also facilitated the development of places like Bolong, Curuan, Vitali and other areas in the Eastern coast by creating a separate Municipality of Bolong. But all Municipalities were abolished when the City of Zamboanga was created in 1936.
The last time he was in Government service was during the Japanese occupation, during the Laurel Government. He was appointed City Mayor of Zamboanga from 1942 - 1945. During this time, the City reverted to a Municipality by Japanese occupation authorities. This status lasted until March 10, 1945. When U.S liberation forces, 41st division US Army under Mayor General Jens A. Doe, freed the City again and assumed its City status. But what was noteworthy and admirable about Governor Camins, was his honesty and integrity. He was a public official who was completely free from questions on morality and integrity. Camins did not acquire material wealth in office, in fact he left the Government service relatively poorer in resources than when he joined it. During his term as a Governor it was legally possible for him to acguire vast tracts of agricultural lands in the provinces but it was not to his character to take undue advantage of his high position when so many of his constituents and fellow Filipinos were landless and homeless.
Governor Camins devoted his last years to his first love the Press. He operated the El Sur Printing Press and Publishing one of the leading community newspapers at that time. When he died in August 12, 1970 he left a few properties including the printing press , to his heirs led by his eldest son Bernardino Noning "EL BALAGUNERO CAMINS. host of the first chavacano radio comentary over ABS-CBN DXSW and the author of the very first chavacano dictionary.
In August 11, 1971 the City Council pass an ordinance No. 3032, naming the road from Veterans Avenue to the airport as the Governor Carlos H. Camins Sr. road. In honor of the late former Governor Carlos H. Camins. And in November 4, 1987, the local Government celebrated the 100 birth anniversary of the Governor. A ceremony and a tree planting activity was than that day, It was led by Teresa Camins Alavar the eldest daughter of Bernardino Camins who was once a member of the barangay council in Guiwan.
In all the years that Carlos H. Camins was in politics and in the Government Service, he was regarded and known as an honest man, honesty was his name, a unanimous consensus in Zamboanga. This was the best legacy he left in this world, and wasthe greatest pride of his family. No one could point an accusing finger at him and say that he was a dirty politician. He did not enrich himself nor did he cut any dirty deals. He always acted according to law and according to his conscience. He will forever be remembered as one of the best politicians Zamboanga has ever produced Servicio De Calidad ".
By Councilor Miguel Camins Alavar, III
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