Osmeña says Ace can make "One Cebu" real

September 13, 2009 CEBU, Philippines - Mayor Tomas Osmeña has expressed full support to Tourism Secretary Joseph “Ace” Durano, who has been being prodded to challenge the reelection bid of Cebu Governor Gwendolyn Garcia, saying he can unite all the politicians in Cebu and make a real “One Cebu.”

Osmeña said he will try to persuade the former fifth district congressman to accept the challenge as he has a big chance of winning the elections.

In response, Durano said he is flattered that the mayor and some of his friends have faith on him that he has the ability to lead the province, but said running for the position still did not enter his mind.

“I’m always open to contribute to the progress of Cebu, but the position I can do this is secondary,” he said in a text message to The FREEMAN.

Osmeña assured Durano that once he decides to run as governor, he will help him inform the people of the province that Governor Garcia is “anti-poor” and her reelection to office will not bring any good to them.

When asked of Durano’s chances of winning against the governor, the mayor quickly said “I think so.”

The recent statement of the mayor gives an impression that the new generations of the Osmeñas and Duranos are already in good terms.

The mayor’s father, then senator Sergio “Serging” Osmeña Jr. and Cong. Ramon Durano Sr., have fought each other, including in the mayoralty position in Cebu City. But Mayor Osmeña said he can always work with the Tourism secretary.

Some political observers however observed Durano would have a hard time to run for governor against Garcia because her father, former governor Pablo Garcia, is now the congressman of the second district while her brother, Pablo John also represents the province’s third district.

Osmeña said he strongly believes that the Cebuanos are already educated enough to choose the right candidates who can provide them benefits, unlike Governor Garcia who does not take care of their needs.

The mayor said many mayors in the province do not like her to win again in next year’s elections.

Osmeña and Governor Garcia have been trading barbs since early 2007 as an offshoot of the failed land swap deal.

Osmeña said if Durano becomes governor, he is open to any negotiation if the latter wishes to push through the Capitol’s Ciudad project in Banilad, which the mayor “froze” as a result of his conflict with Garcia. — Rene U. Borromeo with reports from AJ dela Torre/WAB (THE FREEMAN)

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