Monday, May 11, 2015

Governor Of Kalinga Allegedly Attacked And Punched The Provincial Board Secretary In The Face

He has done it again. Jocel Baac, the governor of the province of Kalinga is reentering the hot seat after news broke out that he physically attacked an employee of the provincial office. On Monday (May 11) in his office, Baac allegedly assaulted Provincial Board Secretary Mathew O. Matbagan by grabbing his shirt then punching him in the face and body.

According to the Herald Express, the altercation reportedly stemmed from a "resolution prepared by the board members declaring Gabriella Mija Kim Medical Center located at barangay Agbannawag here as an annex of the Kalinga Provincial hospital." There were terms in the resolution that Baac wanted clarifications from so he asked Matbagan to report to his office.

It was during this meeting that Baac lost his bearings and attacked Matbagan. The governor's own security escorts intervened to stop the mauling. Matbagan tried to justify the terms in the resolution but the governor reportedly did not listen.

The same Herald Express article reports ,"Matbagan narrated to police investigators that prior to the said incident, Baac, in his capacity as governor, ordered medical workers deployed in the said medical center to go back to their respective mother units. Upon learning about Baac’s order, the provincial board immediately convened and drafted a resolution declaring it as an annex of the Kalinga Provincial hospital."

The Gabriela Mija Kim Medical Center was donated to the province by a South Korean foundation. It was turned over to the provincial government of Kalinga on January 2007.

Here's the thing. Assuming that the Herald Express report is accurate, what I can understand here is that Baac wants the workers at the Gabriela Mija Kim Medical Center to leave and go back to other centers run by the local government. The reason? Lack of funds, probably. In 2013, Baac promised that the provincial government "will provide operational funds, maintenance fund, salaries of employees, and other services."

I don't see any other reason why Baac would want to take away workers from a medical center providing health services to his constituents other than funding reasons. Unless, his stance on the issue is politically motivated.

It's clear that the Provincial Board disagrees with him as evidenced by their drafting of a resolution declaring the Gabriela Mija Kim Medical Center as an annex of the Kalinga Provincial Hospital. In my understanding, if this happens, then the medical workers at GMKMC need not go back to their mother units.

Because of the mauling incident, Matbagan sustained a hematoma on his face as well as abrasions and lacerations on different parts of his body.

It can be recalled that Governor Baac was also involved in an assault case in 2011 wherein he was accused of barging into a radioman's booth, grabbing the microphone and hitting the radioman with it. Due to the incident, Baac was suspended by Malacanang in 2012 for at least a month.