CEBU CITY – Cebuanos are mourning the passing of the man, who was credited for shaping what the province of Cebu has become today.
Emilio “Lito” Osmeña passed away in one of the private hospitals here on Monday night. He was 82.
“We have lost a great man, a Cebuano who believed in and was proud to be a Sugbuanong Probinsyano. Because of that, the word Promdi acquired a new meaning – – that of excellence and the capability to achieve great things,” Cebu Governor Gwendolyn Garcia said.
No immediate details were provided as to the cause of death but there were reports that the former Cebu governor was infected with COVID-19.
Accordingly, the former governor was fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
“RIP, Lito O, the architect of Ceboom,” former Cebu City Mayor Alvin Garcia said in a Facebook post.
“Ceboom” was referring to the economic boom that Cebu experienced when Osmeña served as Cebu governor from 1988 to 1992.
“Beyond all his remarkable accomplishments, I believe that Lito Osmeña’s greatest legacy will be to have made us all truly proud to be Cebuanos. For that, we, Cebuanos , will be eternally grateful,” added Garcia.
Osmeña also spearheaded the major projects in Cebu such as the Cebu Business Park and Cebu Transcentral Highway (TCH).
The 33-kilometer TCH is major road connecting Metro Cebu to towns in northwest Cebu.
After making huge waves in the local scene, Osmeña threw his hat in the national politics when he ran for vice president in 1992.
Osmeña’s running mate Fidel Ramos won but he lost to Joseph Estrada for the vice presidency.
Osmeña was appointed by Ramos as presidential economic adviser from 1993 to 1997.
Osmena, the grandson of the late president Sergio Osmeña, formed the Probinsya Muna Development Initiative (PROMID) Party in 1997.
In 1998, Osmeña ran for president but lost again to former tormentor Joseph Estrada.
National politics continued to be unkind to Osmeña when he failed in his senatorial bid in 2010.
Osmeña’s last public appearance in Cebu took place last June 4 when he announced the revival of PROMDI Party.
During the press conference, Osmeña announced that the party will be fielding its own candidates from president down to councilors.
“We will not be supporting personalities. We will be supporting what they stand for,” Osmeña said then.
Osmeña was the brother of former Senator John Henry Osmeña, who died in February this year.
Lito was the cousin for Senator Sergio Osmeña III and former Cebu City Mayor and Congressman Tomas Osmeña.
“So long Dad! You will always be part of us. Thank you is not enough!” Lito’s son Mimo said.