By Rhaydz B. Barcia
LEGAZPI CITY--- An impasse hit the provincial health office (PHO) of Albay after provincial health officer Nathaniel B. Rempillo assumed his original post but which post is now occupied by another officer-in-charge.
Rempillo was designated as provincial health officer in 2014 during the incumbency of then Governor now Rep. Joey Sarte Salceda (2nd District) Albay but was eased out from his post as chief of the provincial health office in favor of Dr. Antonio S. Ludevice, Jr.
Ludevice is the officer in charge of the Josefina Belmonte Duran Memorial District Hospital (JBDMDH) in Ligao City but was designated as officer-in-charge of PHO in a concurrent capacity.
Following the expiration of his earlier reassignment to another office granted to him by Bichara, Rempillo assumed his original post as provincial health officer while Dr. Antonio S. Ludevice, Jr. retains his concurrent post.
Due to this, Rempillo and Ludevice are both seating as provincial health officers. Rempillo is receiving Salary Grade 26 while Ludevice is Salary Grade 25.
Rempillo was part of the Team Albay-OCD Bicol humanitarian mission during the helm of then Gov. Salceda. He said that he wrote a letter to Gov. Bichara about his assumption to office but did not receive a reply from the governor.
Yesterday, he assumed his post superseding Ludevice’s post, stating that the previous programs implemented under his leadership failed under Ludevice’s watch, specifically on immunization programs and increasing teen age pregnancy.
Aside from increasing teen age pregnancy and low immunization accomplishment on polio, measles and anti-bacteria among children, the income of government hospitals under the provincial government decreased from P97M to P85M, Rempillo said.
He added that his re-assignment was tainted with politics.
He said that medical missions alone will not address the health care services of the people.
“Medical mission alone will not address health care services to the people. During my time the provincial health office was given the Galing Pook award on disaster risk reduction and of Manuel L. Quezon Award for curtailing tuberculosis disease. Our programs for MDGs were affected,” he said.
Dr. Antonio Lodevice for his part said that he has nothing against Dr. Nathaniel “Nats” B. Rempello if he assumed his original post but he will continue his similar function as officer-in-charge of provincial health office until Governor Al Francis Bichara’s directive remains.
“He may assume his post there’s nothing wrong about it but I will continue my task as concurrent officer in charge following the order of Gov. Bichara. I don’t know if the governor will acknowledge his assumption,” Ludevice said in an interview over DZGB radio.
Ludevice said that they’re busy conducting medical mission across the province to look after medical needs and provide health services to the people thus pursue programs that will benefit the public.
But the scuffle and impasse at the provincial health office is cut short by the latest order of Albay Gov. Al Francis Bichara after Rempillo was demoted from his post as provincial health officer.
In an office order dated June 18, 2018 by Bichara to Rempillo, the latter’s designation and function as department head of the provincial health office is no longer in effect and is therefore relieved off the post.
Bichara created the Provincial Health Care Development Committee (PHCDC) where he re-assigned Rempillo to perform and prepare short, medium and long development heath care plan for the province, to work on the upgrade of the Pantao District Hospital, Pioduran Memorial District Hospital and Cagraray District Hospital which were downgraded to infirmary.
The Alfonso P. Bichara Memorial Hospital will also be included as part of the hospitals that will be upgraded. However, Bichara said that Rempillo failed to comply with his order as stated objectives of the creation of the (PHCDC).
The governor said based in Section 16 of the LocalGovernment Code, Rempillo failed to complywith his task, particularlyin the delivery of effective and efficient public service.
“Records reveal that from the time that you were designated to head said committee you failed to comply with the stated objectives of the creation of the PHCDC. You are hereby ordered to continue with your functions as the designated head of the committee and to perform the task,” the governor said.
“This designation shall relieve you of your functions as the department head of the provincial health office. However, no reduction in rank, status or salary shall be affected by this designation,” Bichara added.
Rempillo is not the sole provincial employee affected by the current re-assignment of certain head of offifces. As the second in command of the Albay Public Safety Emergency Management Office (Apsemo) Abundio “Jukes” Nuñez was also re-assigned to Pioduran Memorial Hospital.
Nuñez’ expertise is on disaster risk management who also formed part of Team Albay-OCD Bicol Humanitarian Team extending assistance and sharing expertise to other regions in time of natural calamities.