THE Cebu Provincial Government paid tribute to the late Governor Emilio "Lito" Osmeña through a necrological service held at the Capitol Friday, July 30, 2021.
Cebu Governor Gwen Garcia in her eulogy reminisced her personal experience with the late governor during Typhoon "Ruping," which affected Ormoc City on November 5, 1991.
She said Osmeña flew to Ormoc on November 6 to see for himself the situation and help the people of the city.
She said Osmeña was the very first government official outside of Ormoc to reach the affected residents.
"Thirty years ago, I have the distinct privilege of witnessing first hand genuine leadership at its best," she said, adding that thousands of lives were then lost and bodies were on the streets clogging up or buried.
The electricity and communication were also down and they were isolated since bridges were not passable.
"He headed for immediate relief and rehabilitation efforts to rebuild Ormoc. For the first time in my adult life, I was truly proud as a Cebuano," she added.
Lawyer Winston Garcia, for his part, thanked Osmeña for the privilege to witness his passion and dedication to public service.
“Aside from my father, Lito was the most influential person in my life.
When I learned that he died, a part of me also died with him. My outlook in life, especially my outlook on public service, was greatly influenced by Lito,” he said.
“I was one of the privileged few who witnessed behind closed doors the greatness and heroism of Lito. The biggest influence that Lito had on me was his passionate, tireless, selfless and fearless dedication to public service,” Garcia added.
He also said that he saw how Osmeña turned adversity into opportunity, but he had only served Cebu for four years as governor and it was too little for him to do what he wanted to do.
“There were the four pillars that he promised: bridges, water, electricity that generate jobs for the Cebuanos up until today,” he said.
He said Osmeña was the first governor who mandated that the National Anthem be sang in Cebuano.
"Your father was a great man and he served this house well," Garcia told Osmeña's two sons: Mimo and Milo.
For Mimo, his father was someone who was always concerned about his country.
He said his father was politically active and was always looking for different solutions not only for the economy, but also to help the people.
"He wanted everybody to remember him as he was. Which is why in the family, I followed his instructions. And he was cremated within 24 hours," Milo said.
Milo added that even in his last breath, Osmeña uttered the words "pandemic, people and solution."
The necrological service started with a Holy Mass, followed by a presentation of resolution of condolence to the bereaved family, eulogies, and turnover of the Philippine flag, among others.
Osmeña was the grandson of former President Sergio Osmeña. He also ran for president in 1998 but lost to Joseph "Erap" Estrada. In 1992, Osmeña ran for vice president but also lost the race.
He served as governor of Cebu from 1988 to 1992.
Osmeña was also known as the father of CEBOOm, the rapid economic development of Cebu in the early 1990s. (MVE)