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Deserved tribute: bridge named after Serging O

/ 02:00 AM May 02, 2014

This refers to Neal Cruz’s April 28 column titled “New Battle of Mactan dividing Cebuanos.”

As mayor of Cordova, Cebu, I couldn’t have filed any “bill” naming the 1st Opon-Mandaue Bridge after Serging Osmeña. However, I did sponsor a mo tion on the same subject last year during a Regional Development Council meeting, and it was carried. It was my son, Arleigh Jay Sitoy, majority floor leader of the present Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Cebu, who filed such a resolution.

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Cruz likened the “Battle of Mactan” to the so-called “New Battle of Mactan.” How lightly Cruz regards Lapu-Lapu’s victory over Magellan, which was the first and only battle Filipinos won against foreign invaders!

Here are the reasons for naming the bridge after Serging:

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1. It was Serging who first thought of a bridge connecting Mactan and Cebu and broached the idea of closing the substandard and dangerous Lahug Airport and opening a new one at Humayhumay, Lapu-Lapu City. This initially drew hostile reaction mixed with disbelief. But he was eventually vindicated. To link his idea with that of Pascual Racuyal is abusive analogy. Racuyal was a perennial candidate for president. His was not a voice of a leader with vision.

2. Serging was a proven leader with considerable followers. In 1951 when he ran for governor of Cebu, he demolished the well-entrenched Cuenco machinery (with Don Mariano as Senate president, Miguel as congressman and Manuel as governor). Serging was the elected mayor of Cebu City from 1955 to 1971; became congressman of Cebu’s premier second district, then composed of Cebu City, Mandaue City, Lapu-Lapu City, Consolacion, Liloan, Compostela and Cordova; and in 1965, a senator. Were it not for his political collision with President Carlos P. Garcia and the powerful Laurel clan, he would have won the speakership in 1957.

3. Running for vice president as an independent in 1961, he came out a close second to Liberal Party candidate Emmanuel Pelaez and humbled Nacionalista Party bet for vice president, Gil Puyat. His running against Ferdinand Marcos in 1969 was an exercise in futility because Marcos, as events would prove true, had already planned to stay in Malacañang at will.

It is barbaric to revive the moot issue of collaboration against Serging. A general amnesty was granted to all Filipinos suspected of collaboration with the Japanese during World War II.

Lastly, it is unfair to cry foul against the congressmen who filed a bill in Congress seeking to name the 1st Opon-Mandaue Bridge after Serging. They were not Serging’s disciples during his time and belonged to different political persuasions in Cebu. Their unity shows that Cebuanos are not divided over the issue after all.

Linking Sen. Serge Osmeña III to the congressmen’s move is most ridiculous. None of them is beholden to Serge. As of today, Cebu is unaware of Serge’s running for president.

I left Serging for Rep. Ramon Durano and President Marcos in 1971, but I stand by this comment with a clear conscience. Certainly, Cebuanos know what battles to fight and when to divide themselves. Definitely, not on what to name a bridge!

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—ADELINO B. SITOY,

mayor, Cordova, Cebu

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TAGS: “Battle of Mactan”, “New Battle of Mactan”, cebu, Cordova, Lapu-Lapu, Opon-Mandaue Bridge, Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Cebu, Serging Osmeña
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