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Mayor: Promote Zambo as 'Asia's Latin City'

SunStar: Zamboanga City Mayor Celso Lobregat has asked the Philippine Air Lines (PAL) to help promote the Asia's Latin City branding of Zamboanga by using Chavacano spiels in greeting passengers traveling to and from the city. Lobregat personally made the request to PAL President and Chief Operating Officer Jaime Bautista, who along with other PAL top executives visited the city Tuesday to launch the Mabuhay (Business) Class service via the Airbus A319. Lobregat said the flag carrier can well support Zamboanga's new branding by using Chavacano spiels in greeting the passengers aboard before landing and take off. The playing of Chavacano songs aboard the plane is also welcome. It is a standard procedure of airline companies including the PAL to greet their passengers before landing and take off using the English or Filipino (Tagalong) languages. The city government under the Lobregat leadership has recently launched the Asia's Latin City branding as a result of the City Development Strategies (CDS) project. The new tag cites the city's unique chavacano dialect, which is a Spanish derivative. Zamboanga is the only city in the country and entire Asia where majority of the residents speak Chavacano. Lobregat together with Vice Mayor Beng Climaco welcomed Bautista and party at the airport. The PAL executives were ferried to Zamboanga by PAL A319 marking the start of the flag carrier's new bi-class service to the city. PAL president Bautista expressed support to the idea saying that the flag carrier would be willing to help in whatever way it can. Mayor Lobregat is set to make his request official by submitting a letter of request to the PAL official. The City Council, it is recalled, has also approved a resolution with similar content several months ago. Meanwhile, Mayor Lobregat welcomed the deployment to Zamboanga of Airbus A319, PAL's latest single-aisle aircraft which launches the operation of the Mabuhay Class service. "This is an indication of the booming business in Zamboanga City," Lobregat declared. Planes come in to the city on full capacity and the occupancy rate in hotels and inns are very high. "This is a good indication of progress and development in our city." The A319 is part of the PAL's comprehensive fleet modernization program. It replaces the Boeing 737-300, which has been serving the city since 1989. With the introduction of the Mabuhay (Business) Class service, the PAL will also set up a Mabuhay lounge, a facility, where first class passengers will sit and relax while waiting for their flight. - Sheila Enriquez