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LITO O. DIES

FORMER Cebu Governor Emilio “Lito” Osmeña died of Covid-19 disease last July 19, 2021, at Cebu Doctor’s Hospital, leaving a legacy of being the Father of Ceboom.

Osmeña’s son, Mariano “Mimo,” said that his father was fully vaccinated when he died-- the first dose was last April, and the second dose was last May.

Osmeña, 82, was cremated and buried at his own Skyline Garden Columbary, with his parents and grandparents, and his brother Senator John Henry “Sonny” Osmeña, Mimo said.

Osmeña was elected as Cebu governor on Jan. 18, 1988. He served as chief executive of the province until June 30, 1992. His leadership in Cebu has developed the province into an economic hub in the Philippines.

During his governorship, the annual budget of the Cebu Provincial Government was P165 million, including the maintenance and operating expenses.

So, together with then Board Member Gregorio Sanchez Jr., a civil engineer, and Board Member Winston Garcia, a lawyer, they sold the golf course behind the defunct Magellan Hotel to the Ayala business empire which is now called Cebu Business Park where billions of pesos circulated every week before the Covid-19 pandemic.

Osmeña ran for vice president in 1992 in tandem with then Defense Secretary Fidel V. Ramos who won while he lost. But one year after, Ramos appointed him as presidential economic adviser from 1993 to 1998. He ran for President of the Philippines in that year, became a victim of personality politics and was defeated by a movie actor.

Philippine economic and military experts said Osmeña was the best president the Philippines never had.

Recently, Osmeña held a press conference at Casino Español in Cebu City, and together with radio icon Nanding Celeste and former Mactan-Cebu International Airport Authority (MCIAA) director Oscar Canton, announced the revival of Probinsya Muna Development Initiatives (PROMDI) Party and has formed an alliance with Team Manny Paquiao for President.

In that press conference, Osmeña re-inventoried its leaders in entire Cebu and several regions in the country. They are now ready to field candidates for governor down to the last municipal councilor.

Osmeña was also responsible for the governorship of former Cebu governor Pablo P. Garcia. Garcia who was the congressman of Cebu’s 3rd District was about to run for reelection against then Senator Sonny, Lito O’s brother. But to avoid a political head-on collision, Osmeña offered Garcia to run for governor and won.

During his governorship, Osmeña opened the Trans-Central Highway, passing the mountains of Cebu City and Balamban town that cut short the travel distance from 60 kilometers to more than 45 kilometers. It is now being used by residents in Cebu’s west coast, and the businessmen and workers of the shipbuilding industry in Balamban.

Cebu 3rd District Board Member Ismael “Jimbo” Borgonia said that Balamban’s economy is still growing despite the Covid-19 pandemic because the more than 8,000 people in the shipbuilding industry are still working.

When Osmeña succeeded in making the then Mactan Domestic Airport to MCIAA through the effort of his cousin, the late Rep. Raul V. Del Mar, several direct international flights were opened from Mactan to Japan, Hong Kong and Singapore and later on with 36 flights a day to several countries of the world, the cities of Lapu-Lapu and Mandaue which were then sleepy became urban areas.

Millions of foreign tourists came to the Philippines that uplifted the tourism business.

The lands at the old Lahug airport were returned to its previous owners and the IT Park was born with billions of pesos in circulation every week before the Covid pandemic.

Aside from raising the salaries of provincial government employees, Osmeña was able to concrete the roads and bridges in the province, increasing more the business and trade.

In one of his speeches, Osmeña said that Cebu is leading compared to other provinces in the country because it has four major facilities that can invite foreign and domestic investors. These are communication, transportation, water, and power facilities.