TABUK CITY, Kalinga – Concerned officials and employees of the Kalinga provincial government decried the alleged injustice committed by the Office of the Ombudsman in suspending Gov. Jocel C. Baac for six months, saying that the penalty imposed against him is not commensurate with the decision in his case.
In a manifesto of support signed by hundreds of provincial government officials and employees, they expressed their full and unconditional support to Gov. Baac despite his 6-month suspension which is allegedly too much and not commensurate with the Ombudsman’s decision.
Baac was ordered suspended for 6 months without pay after the Ombudsman found merit in the case filed against him by the former members of the provincial board for grave misconduct, abuse of authority, oppression and unbecoming of a public official when he allegedly manhandled a provincial official in the person of board secretary Mathew Matbagan inside his office sometime in 2015.
The manifesto claimed from 2001 to 2010, Kalinga was not actually taking off in terms of growth and development considering that there was no macroeconomic agenda for the provincial government to follow plus the fact that there was no political will among those who were in power then as the previous administrations were simply contented in the implementation of alleged stop gap measures which did not have much impact on the people and the development of the province as a whole.
After the 2010 national elections, the manifesto stated Gov. Baac took the reigns of government and he started instituting real change which started to contribute in slowly uplifting the living condition of the people and the overall development of the province.
According to the manifesto, the meagre Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA) of the province was judiciously used and the fiscal management was ably done to prioritize the implementation of impact projects that were funded by the available budget.
Further, the supporters of Gov. Baac pointed out the province’s IRA was augmented from other fund sources both local and foreign like the agriculture department and the World Bank- assisted Philippine Rural Development Program (PRDP).
‘One of the pillars of Gov. Baac’s administration was the promotion of health and social services to the people. He worked hard to improve the health facilities providing more equipment for health services like the Kalinga provincial hospital and district hospitals,” the manifesto stressed.
When he assumed on July 1, 2010, the manifesto added one of his immediate actions was to repair the Kalinga Gabriela Mija Kim Medical Center at Agbannawag considering that it was built during his time but was never utilized during the previous administrations.
The medical center was repaired and fixed by November 2010 and inaugurated the following month with the attendance of DOH regional and central officers. It was operated as a lying-in center and birthing home with Dra. Ruth Duguiang as its medical doctor.
Because of the growing number of patients from Kalinga and Isabela, two new buildings were constructed at the hospital site in 2012 and 2014.
Baac’s case was a result of the unfortunate incident when he scolded Matbagan because he reportedly signed with the former vice governor a resolution in which he admitted that he did not prepare the controversial resolution wherein the Kalinga Gabriela Mija Kim Medical Center was rendered abandoned and futile when in fact it was not.
By filing the case against the governor, the concerned employees revealed that some parties want him immobilized as was their prayer in the case filed against him before the Ombudsman.
With Baac’s suspension, the manifesto argued the concerned parties did not achieve anything but it is the people who are now allegedly denied and deprived of his services as mandated of his office.
The officials and employees claimed the 6-month suspension is too much for an offense of simple misconduct considering that Gov. Baac is a passionate leader and civil servant, he the political will and a mindset for the overall development of the province and the promotion of the common good.
The manifesto stated his suspension would mean a delay in the implementation of projects, programs and services badly needed by the people.
Under Baac’s watch, Kalinga is now a 4-time awardee of the Seal of Good Local Governance and Seal of Good Housekeeping, it was adjudged twice as the top 10 rice-producing provinces in the country, the No. 2 in PhilHealth collections in the Cordillera and the No. 43 out of 82 provinces in terms of development.