TABUK CITY, KALINGA – Governor Jocel Baac has chosen Executive Assistant Henry Gupaal to take on the mantle of Provincial Administrator.
Baac made the appointment upon resuming office on December 11 with the appointment itself effective December 12.
“I am happy that [Governor Baac] gave me his trust and confidence by appointing me as the Provincial Administrator. But over and above that is the responsibility that is being put on my shoulders. We will make sure that he gets all the help he needs in carrying out his duties,” Gupaal said.
He promised continuity upon his take-over. “Nu anya ti nairugi ni governor idi, isu latta maituluy. Nu adda man ti changes, minimal changes siguro. Maymaysa met ti direction ti turung ti liderato ni Governor Baac,” Gupaal said.
A graduate of Divine Word Seminary in Tagaytay City, Gupaal started his career in the government at the House of Representatives, in which he worked as a researcher from 1988 to 1990 under the office of Oscar Orbos, then the Representative of the 1st District of Pangasinan.
Maintaining a professional relationship, Gupaal worked as an Executive Assistant to Orbos throughout the latter’s tenure as Transportation and Telecommunication Secretary and then later on as Executive Secretary to President Corazon Aquino.
Gupaal was a member of the negotiating panel between the Cordillera Peoples Liberation Army (CPLA) and the Government of the Philippines (GRP) from 1986 to 1987.
From 2002 until 2004, Gupaal worked as a legislative assistant to then Deputy Commissioner Gil Valera of the Bureau of Customs – Department of Finance (BOC-DOF).
Gupaal whose career in the Provincial Capitol spans 20 years is not a neophyte to the role of Provincial Administrator.
He first held the title during the second term of Governor Dominador Belac and then for another year after that when Governor Floidelia Diasen was elected in 2007.
He was tapped by Baac, then the Vice Governor, and has been the latter’s Executive Assistant since winning the gubernatorial seat in 2010.
Gupaal said that Baac’s decision to appoint him as Provincial Administrator caught him by surprise. He said that there wasn’t any talk of his appointment in the days leading up to December 11.
Having served under different governors since 1998, Gupaal said that he saw in Baac a strong political will to lead the province.
“Governor Baac was elected in 2010 and by 2012 was able to lift the province from the club of top 20 poorest provinces,” he said.
“The DILG has recognized his responsible leadership and for it, awarded us the Seal of Good Local Governance or SGLG five times. So that is a high measure of the kind of leadership that Governor Baac has shown since he took office,” he added.
Gupaal spoke of his hopes that Baac will continue to serve the province in other capacities after his term ends in 2019.
By Iryll Sicnao