Philippine politicians

Former Cebu governor Lito Osmeña dies from COVID-19

Ryan Macasero
Former Cebu governor Lito Osmeña dies from COVID-19

FORMER GOVERNOR. Lito Osmeña, a former Cebu governor, dies at 82.

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Cebu saw rapid economic development during Osmeña's time as governor

Former Cebu Governor Lito Osmeña, 82, died on Monday, July 19, in Cebu.

“Yes, he passed,” his first-degree cousin and former senator Sergio “Serge” Osmeña III confirmed to Rappler.

He died from COVID-19, Serge Osmeña said.

Lito Osmeña was the governor of Cebu from 1988 to 1992.

He has been out of the political scene for decades, but he is remembered most for ushering in a period of rapid economic development in Cebu during his time as governor.

While he was governor, Lito sold the province-owned Club Filipino in Cebu City to Ayala Corporation to develop what is now the Cebu Business Park. 

It was also under Lito’s watch that the road system began to expand with the construction of the transcentral highway, the airport expanded its direct flight network with other countries, and water and power distribution improved across the island.

Lito served as chief economic adviser to former president Fidel Ramos from 1993 to 1997. 

He ran for president in 1998 with his party, PROMDI (Probinsya Muna Development Initiative), but lost. 

Lito was last seen in public on June 3, when he held a press conference endorsing his son Mariano “Mimo” Osmeña to run for the 1st District of Cebu City, which was left vacant after the death of Raul del Mar.

Lito’s brother Sonny died five months earlier in February at the age of 86.

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Lito is the grandson of the late president Sergio Osmeña. Aside from Sonny, he has a sister named Annie Osmeña-Aboitiz, a real estate developer.

He is also the cousin of former Cebu City mayor Tomas Osmeña.

Lito is survived by his wife Annette and three children Mariano, Maria Luisa, and Emilio III. –

Ryan Macasero

Ryan covers Cebu and the Visayas for Rappler. He covers all news in the region, but is particularly interested in people stories, development issues and local policy making.