Sultan Kudarat doctor survives ambush
MANILA, Philippines — Government officials, concerned individuals, and colleagues are seeking justice for a 27-year-old physician who survived an ambush by two unidentified men on a motorcycle in Maguindanao del Sur province last week.
“We, the batchmates of Dr. Sharmaine Barroquillo and faculty members of the Davao Medical School, condemn in strongest terms, the murderous act against our colleague,” said the alumni and faculty members of Davao Medical School Foundation Inc. (DMSFI) in a statement on Feb. 10.
“We seek justice for our colleague. We urge the government to go after the perpetrators of this attack. Our efforts to appeal to the government will be unceasing and relentless until this case is solved and the heartless criminals are brought to justice,” they added.
The statement was signed by Dr. Jean Lindo, president of the Philippine Medical Women’s Association-Davao City chapter; Dr. Florence Roselle Adalin, president of DMSFI Batch 2022; other faculty members and alumni of DMSFI; and postgraduate interns from batch 2022-2023 at the Southern Philippines Medical Center.
Barroquillo, a physician working in Sultan Kudarat Provincial Hospital in the provincial capital of Isulan, was driving her car on the national highway in Barangay Digal, Buluan town, Maguindanao del Sur, all the way from Davao City on the evening of Feb. 3 when she was chased and shot thrice by riding-in-tandem assailants.
She sustained three gunshot wounds from a .45-caliber pistol, including injuries to her left shoulder and lower back that penetrated her spinal cord.
Despite her condition, the wounded Barroquillo managed to drive her dark grey Toyota Swift hatchback toward the nearby Buluan District Hospital. But her car hit a tricycle and damaged a house, injuring three persons.
Witnesses rushed Barroquillo and the other wounded to the hospital.
Police have yet to determine the motive of the ambush.
“While she has survived the critical period, she had to undergo surgery for injuries suffered and is going through psychological trauma,” the DMSFI statement read.
“Dr. Shai (Barroquillo’s nickname), at such a young age and with a bright future ahead of her, will have to spend months and perhaps even years to regain and optimize her functional abilities,” it added.
“We live in a country where six out of 10 Filipinos die without seeing a doctor. We live in a country where there is one doctor per 26,000 people. Dr. Barroquillo joined those who responded to the health needs of the population,” DMSFI said further.
“The sorry state of the country pushes our doctors to work abroad, but she chose to stay. [She] does not deserve this. Her patients do not deserve this.”
Sultan Kudarat Gov. Datu Pax Ali Mangudadatu put up a P1-million reward to anyone who could give information about the gunmen.
After Barroquillo’s ambush, the governor said he was considering providing firearms to the provincial government’s department heads.
Col. Roel Sermese, provincial director of Maguindanao del Sur police, also vowed a prompt inquiry.
Sermese also disputed social media posts claiming “daily shooting incidents” at the national highway in Datu Paglas town. He said the road is a “safe” route for motorists going to and from President Quirino town in Sultan Kudarat.
Bayan Muna executive vice president Carlos Isagani Zarate also condemned the attack on Barroquillo.
“This incident highlights the unfortunate reality that some communities fail to recognize and appreciate the invaluable service that physicians and other health workers provide. Instead of being treated with respect and gratitude, physicians like Dr. Barroquillo become victims of injustice and violence,” Zarate said in a statement.