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Lito O. supports plan to move Prov’l Gov’t center to Balamban
By: Eleanor Valeros | Published Wednesday, November 25, 2020
In a letter, former Cebu Governor Emilio Mario "Lito" Osmeña expressed his support and approval of Governor Gwendolyn Garcia’s proposal to put up a Provincial Government Center in Balamban town. (FILE/Junjie Mendoza)

The proposed creation of a Provincial Government Center in the Municipality of Balamban received a word of approval from former Cebu Governor Emilio Mario “Lito” R. Osmeña, Jr. , who was known for his advocacy for countryside development. 

In a brief letter Osmeña expressed, “Governor Gwendolyn Garcia’s program enjoys my full support.”

“To transfer the seat of Provincial Government to the west will not only help decongest Cebu City, but also enable the development of brand new modern cities where the water is,” he said in the letter. 

“If properly done,” added Osmeña, this “can create enormous wealth for the province.” 

In a press conference last November 4, Governor Garcia announced of a new provincial government center to rise in Balamban soon. This move is to “bring the provincial government services to the countryside and establish the clear identity of the Province of Cebu.”

Garcia pointed out that it would be to the advantage of provincial constituents that the Provincial Government develop a government center in one of its municipalities.

In the recent Provincial Development Council Meeting, the site acquisition and development of a provincial government center gets an allocation of P550 million in the proposed P15-billion annual budget for 2021 which is already on its first reading.

The goal coincides with an initiative of the Provincial Government to develop the countryside through Enhanced Countryside Development (ECD).

Garcia, during the November 4 presscon, mentioned that the “transfer of provincial government services has long been envisioned by previous governors, including Lito Osmeña.”

Osmeña is the founder and chairman of the Probinsya Muna Development Initiative or Promdi, formerly known as Progressive Movement for the Devolution of Initiatives. Promdi is a provincial political party founded in 1997 espousing Filipino federalism and grassroots democracy, under which he ran for the position of President in the 1998 election. He also ran for the position of Vice President and was the runningmate of Fidel Ramos in the 1992 elections.

Promdi is from the English phrase “from the” or a shortened form of “from the province.” 

Osmeña, the governor of Cebu from 1988 to 1992, is the grandson of Philippine president Sergio Osmeña.

During Lito Osmena’s watch as governor, the Province of Cebu experienced an economic boom dubbed “Ceboom.” He was able to increase the provincial budget to P1 billion yearly. 

He underlined the word “water” in his letter presumably because of his Water Distribution Program responsible for making water available to 90 percent of the population of Cebu Province during his incumbency. Before he assumed office, water was available to 56 percent only of the population. (Eleanor Valeros)