A government doctor - the third this year - died of five gunshot wounds he sustained when two persons aboard a motorcycle shot at him while aboard his vehicle in Trece Martires City, Cavite.

The provincial government of Cavite quickly put up a Php 1 million bounty for anyone who can help identify the mastermind of the death of Dr. George Repique, who served as provincial health officer.

Dr Repique's driver, Riorito Bacasa, suffered a gunshot wound to the thigh and was scheduled to undergo surgery at the General Emilio Aguinaldo Memorial Hospital, where the doctor was taken and later expired. The incident happened July 11 around 9 PM near the Trece Martires City College in the Luciano area.

According to CNN Philippines, the gunmen aimed at the backseat where the doctor was seated.

Police said preliminary evidence indicated the latest killing may be premeditated because the 47-year-old physician had been receiving death threats two years ago. They now have five persons of interest to look into.

The bounty was put up in the hopes of speeding up the process of catching the perpetrators. Cavite Governor Jesus Crispin Remulla was quoted by the Manila Bulletin as saying, "We are offering Php 1 million for the capture of the principal suspect."

Meanwhile, Health Secretary Paulyn Ubial again expressed sorrow over the killing of another public doctor, whose numbers are dwindling. 

"I wish to express great grief over this unfortunate incident. We have lost yet another dedicated health worker and I am extremely saddened by the fact that Dr. Repique was the third victim in a row after the still unresolved killings of Dr Dreyfuss (Perlas) and Dr Jaja (Sinolinding) early this year," Secretary Ubial said in a press release.

Dr Perlas was gunned down in Lanao del Norte in March while aboard his motorcycle, while Dr Sinolinding was shot inside his clinic in Cotabato City by a man pretending to be his patient last April.

Secretary Ubial appealed to local governments to protect government doctors and health workers, which has been in short supply and who may be discouraged from continuing to render invaluable service. "Help them so they can serve you better," she said.

Dr Repique became a provincial health officer in Cavite in 2010, and oversaw the start of a partnership between the Cavite government and the University of the Philippines (UP) Community Health and Development Program in 2013. The physician was a graduate of the UP-Manila College of Medicine.  He has been serving the province for the last 7 years. MIMS

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