LIKE Tommy Osmena, Mike Dino is also my friend. However, I write in reaction to his accusation that Mayor Tomas Osmeña is anti-business and anti-poor. Nothing is further from the truth.

I will relate two incidents that will affirm that, on the contrary, Mayor Osmeña is pro-business.

The first incident happened in the early years after 2000 at a DTI Investment Forum in Makati. In that activity, only two places outside Luzon were asked to make a presentation – Cebu and Davao.

I spoke for Cebu in my capacity as managing director of the Cebu Investment Promotions Center (CIPC) and speaking for Davao was the Head of their Davao Investment Promotions Center (DIPC).

During the open forum, the DIPC Head asserted that Davao was better than Cebu in peace and order matters but he also admitted that Cebu was their idol in business development and investment promotions. This was at a time when Tommy Osmeña was mayor of Cebu and Rody Duterte was mayor of Davao.

The second incident was during a round table discussion in Cebu (around 2008) hosted by the Board of Governors of the Development Bank of the Phil. (DBP). I was also invited to this activity in my capacity as Head of CIPC--and one of the other Cebu guests was a Gaisano.

In this forum, Mr. Gaisano lamented to the group that while his family invested in retail trade in Cebu for a couple of decades, and even while the Cebu economy was still very small, Mayor Osmeña in the early years of the 1990s, (when Cebu’s economy was already booming) opened up Cebu to SM and Ayala, thereby reducing the Gaisano family enterprises as the premier shopping destination in Cebu.

In his Feb. 23 column in SunStar (“Bully, he’s not”), Mr. Publio Briones opines that “Cebu City has never found a better champion than Osmeña and that no doubt, he will fight tooth and nail to protect Cebu City’s interest.”

Mr. Osmeña’s issues with SM, Filinvest and Ayala are legal issues. Nothing personal.

Where Tommy is concerned, these big companies did not give Cebu its just returns…and he is doing something that is really predictable: he is fighting tooth and nail to protect Cebu City’s interest.

Tommy Osmeña is NOT anti-business and he is NOT anti-poor. Go figure.--Joel Mari S. Yu, former head, Cebu Investment Promotions Center