Negros Oriental remembers Umbac’s service in gov’t
Both the executive and legislative branches of government in Negros Oriental officially confirmed that the late Provincial Board Member Arturo Umbac was the emissary who united the two sides at the time these were locked in political bickerings.
During the neurological service on Monday, acting Governor Edward Mark Macias, said the late ‘Manong Art’ (as he fondly calls the PB member), was the voice of moderation that made it possible for both parties to talk and resolve the issue that split the two branches.
“With his (Umbac) passing away, maybe God has taken him because he has done enough already,” said Macias in his elegy.
Macias however said he felt guilty that Umbac died ‘under his watch’ while having an official trip in Aklan province to learn about the ISO certification of the provincial government there, and touring the mangroves plantation in the province.
During the mangrove tour, the typical Umbac was asking questions and was walking ahead of the others. Macias said he caught up with Umbac, who was sitting under a shade and they talked about the big “alimango” and the fishes in the area. Umbac however did not tell anything if he was exhausted already, and that there was no inkling or sign whatsoever that the 83-year-old PB member was feeling ill, recalled Macias.
The acting governor told Umbac to stay put, but the latter followed the group until he collapsed before reach the end of the onekilometer stretch mangrove area.
Macias said his only consolation was that, based on the physician’s assessment, Umbac did not suffer in pain as his death was sudden, “like a brownout.”
Macias said he also observed that Umbac was so happy in the last days of his life. While in Aklan, while taking meals, Umbac stood up and grabbed the microphone to render two songs, which he sang five years ago.
Governor Roel Degamo, for his part, visited the wake of Umbac at the Legislative Building to condole with the family and friends. He admitted that it was Umbac who the made possible the reconciliation of the feuding executive and legislative branches of the provincial government.
For Degamo, his uncle Umbac was one of the best advisers of the province and was the cousin of his late father Arturo Valencia Degamo.
Degamo said his first request to Umbac was to craft an ordinance institutionalizing the operation of the Community Primary Hospitals in the province. This was approved before the latter passed away. Umbac had also proposed for government’s subsidy on dialysis expenses of indigent patients at the provincial hospital.
On who would replace Umbac at the PB, Degamo said he has already offered the position to any family member of Umbac, being the leader of the party.
Meanwhile, the PB, during its Monday regular session, approved en masse a resolution of condolence to the family of Umbac, upon motion of PB Members Jessica Villanueva and Ma. Rosario Ocay.
The resolution contained the vital legislations that Umbac had contributed to the provincial government: The walking blood donor bank program; the Gulayan at Palaisdaan Alay sa Kabataan (GPAK) program that won a national “Galing Pook” award; the Negros Oriental Disaster Preparedness communitybased and management program; backyard medicine; and food security.
Acting Vice Governor Ma. Antonia Villegas handed over the PB resolution to the Umbac family, during the necrological service.
Umbac earned several awards and recognition such as the Outstanding Dumagueteno for public service in 2012, Most Outstanding Alumnos in public service awards from Saint Paul University of Dumaguete, Most Outstanding Reservist of the Armed Forces of the Philippines in Region 7 and the national award from the Boy Scouts of the Philippines, among others.
His remains was moved yesterday to his house at Barangay Bagacay, where he will lie in state until Friday, the date of the interment at the Everlasting Cemetery.
Judicial Vicar Monsignor Gamaliel Tulabing, who started the necrological service, said the passing of Umbac was a loss to his family, the government, the people, and the Church. “Umbac was one of the most honest public official who showed excellence in public service,” said Tulabing.
Negros Oriental acting Vice Governor Mariant Escaño Villegas hands over the resolution of condolence, containing also the achievement of the late PB Member Arturo Umbac, to the bereaved family, after the necrological service and Mass at the PB Session Hall.