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Osmenas leave for US amid prayers

First Posted 14:22:00 10/08/2008

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CEBU CITY, Philippines - Prayers and other expressions of support poured in from friends, allies and foes alike for Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña who is scheduled to leave for a medical examination and treatment in New York with his wife Margot at noon Wednesday.

The mayor, who was diagnosed with a mass in his bladder, went home to rest following a trip to Manila while his wife Margot and 200 City Hall employees attended a Mass on the eighth floor of the City Hall building.

Prior to the Mass, the Muslim community in Metro Cebu offered a special prayer for good health and early recovery of Osmeña, whom they earlier named a sultan, in time for their Eid'l Fitr Hariraya Puasa celebration held at the Sugbu building in the South Road Properties (SRP).

Regional Director Sakiran Hajan of the Office of Muslim Affairs in Central Visayas (OMA-7) said he only wished the mayor good health and speedy recovery.

The mayor was supposed to meet with officials of the Commission on Audit (COA) concerning the planned joint venture agreement of the SRP.

Instead he asked Representative Raul del Mar of Cebu City's north district to talk with the COA officials on his behalf.

Margot said the people shouldn't be that worried about her husband's condition since he would return soon.

?My husband is fearless and focused. Even the doctors say he's amazing. His determination to live is so strong much like his mother,? she told reporters.

The couple went to Bacolod City in Negros Occidental last Monday to tell the mayor's 94-year old mother Lourdes dela Rama-Osmeña about his condition.

Mayor Osmeña said his mother could not speak and gave him only a blank stare on hearing the news.

Margot said while she is worried, she is not crying out of fear but because she was overwhelmed with the outpouring of support for her and her husband.

The mayor's wife became teary-eyed as she thanked City Hall employees and told personnel and department heads that she ?can still smile because they have God.?

Despite the new challenge faced by her family, Margot said she has no regrets.

?First of all, we have each other. Second we have a choice of choosing the best treatment that we can get. We can fly to New York or Boston. How many can do that? We are so blessed. Others barely have a choice ... how can we give up,? Margot said.

But at 4 p.m. on Tuesday, Mayor Osmeña said he had not yet even packed his things.

He said he wanted to buy new reading glasses at a mall so he could catch up on his reading while he stays in the US.

Margot said she already sent her husband's medical records to her sister Minnie who arranged for their stay there.

She said they might be going to Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston where Osmeña was treated for his aneurysm in 2002 as they ?don't have problems there.? /With a report from Correspondent Chris A. Ligan

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