The best governor of Cebu

WHAT MATTERS MOST - Atty. Josephus B. Jimenez - The Freeman

The jury is still out. Incumbent governor, Gwendolyn Garcia, might be one of the best Cebu Province ever elected. Brave, firm, decisive, and hardworking. She worships no master, minces no word. She has the character of the late senator Miriam, with guts, grit, and fire in her belly. She has been center stage lately, as she stood up against Imperial Manila’s bright boys who insist on dictating health protocols, ignoring realities on the ground. She also challenges doctors and hospitals on very important issues on life and integrity. Many people think she can be a good senatorial or vice presidential bet next year.

It’s not for us to judge as to who is the best Cebu governor, but we can express our opinions. Most of our views are biased, depending on the information we gathered and the relationships we have had. With the recent passing of Lito Osmeña, everybody praised him, saying he made Cebuanos proud of our province. Well, the culture of people is to shower praises only post mortem. When an official is alive, everyone throws mud at him. But when he passes on, it’s all flowery words. I find that the most decadent hypocrisy. To be a governor of a premier province isn’t a joke. Almost five million people, 44 towns, six component cities, and seven congressional districts, add to these the pandemic, and you have a hell of burden.

So far, there have been 27 governors. The first was Juliuo Llorente who was governor from 1899 to 1901. Then, Juan Climaco (1902 to 1906). Don Sergio Osmeña Sr., the grandfather of Lito, Sonny, Tomas, and Serge Osmeña (from 1096 to 1907,) Dionisio Jakosalem (1907 to 1912). The next governor from 1912 to 1922 was Manuel Roca, Arsenio Climaco (1922 to 1930). Don Mariano Jesus Cuenco (1931 to 1934). Then from 1934 to 1937, Mandaue's Sotero Cabahug, followed by Buenaventura Rodriguez (1937 to 1940). From 1941 to 1943, it was Hilario Abellana, then Jose Delgado during the Japanese occupation from (1943 to 1944), followed by Jose Leyson (1944 to 1945) and by Fructuoso Cabahug (1945 to 1946).

Manuel Cuenco was governor from 1945 to 1951, then Sergio Osmeña Jr. (1951 to 1955). Followed by Jose Briones (1956 to 1961). From 1961 to 1963, the pride of Ronda and Argao, Francisco Remotigue helmed the Capitol. We called him Ingko Milio and in Cebu City he was called Kikoy. President Marcos appointed him DSWD secretary, then the Social Welfare Administration. He was followed from 1964 to 1969 by Rene Espina, Osmundo Rama won and was governor from 1969 to 1975. My ninong, Eddie Gullas, was governor from 1976 to 1986. After EDSA, Osmundo Rama was named OIC governor from 1986 to 1988. Then Lito Osmeña was elected and held office from 1988 to 1992. He was followed by Vicente dela Serna from 1992 to 1995.

Pablo Garcia was governor from 1995 to 2004, followed by Governor Gwen from 2004 to 2013, followed by Hilario “Junjun” Davide III from 2013 to 2019. Governor Gwen is facing an election in 2022. She might run unopposed if Vice Governor Junjun runs for 2nd District representative. Representative Willy Caminero is term limited and may run for Argao mayor or vice governor.

I’m biased, of course, but my short list of ten are Don Sergio Osmeña, Don Mariano Jesus Cuenco, Dionisio Jakosalem, Francisco Remotigue, Eduardo Gullas, Osmundo Rama, Lito Osmeña, Pablo Garcia, Gwen Garcia, and Junjun Davide. Of course, I am biased but I have researched their lives, careers, and performance.

I have information that Eddiegul was the only governor who visited all barangays of Cebu, and that means 1,203 barangays. Governor Gwen's Suroy- Suroy Sugbo and Sugbusog also brought her to all the nooks and crannies of Cebu. Together with Lito Osmeña, they could be the top three best Cebu governors ever. I have my biases but who doesn't?

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