By The nation
CHIANG RAI Governor Narongsak Osotthanakorn has emerged as one of the knights in shining armour during the mission to save 13 lives inside a flooded cave.
It took the Thai public less than a week to notice the key contribution from this man.
With Narongsak at the helm of the rescue-operation war room, clear plans were laid down. Officials and volunteers alike were assigned clear tasks and their efforts efficiently coordinated. Safety measures also received strong emphasis, ensuring there were no fatalities while trying to save the 12 young football players and the assistant football coach of Mu Pa Academy Mae Sai from the Tham Luang cave.
The 13 footballers got stranded when flash floods hit the cave on June 23.
Large-scale rescue efforts have since taken off. Although the operations of such a scale are difficult to manage, Narongsak has risen to the challenge.
Throngs of newshounds at the cave site were also a formidable challenge but Narongsak handled them with finesse.
While also being tough on their intrusive behaviour, Narongsak provided clear-cut briefings every now and then.
His communication skills, including the use of a Line chat group, were effective in dispelling rumours.
Now that the rescue mission has been successful in finding the missing 13, the public is keen to know more about Narongsak’s future.
Records show Chiang Rai is the first province where Narongsak has served as the governor.
He started his tenure in Chiang Rai one year ago.
When it was confirmed that 13 people had gone missing at the Tham Luang cave, Narongsak was still the province’s governor. So, he quickly set rescue efforts in motion and worked really hard.
He went inside the cave to check the situation every day.
He also visited the families of the stranded footballers every day.
Many observers were amazed at the multiple skills Narongsak demonstrated. But when the range of his educational qualifications are considered, his abilities do not come as a surprise.
Narongsak has four bachelors degrees. In 1985, he graduated from the Kasetsart University with a bachelor’s in engineering (civil). Later, he received a bachelor of law, bachelor of technology, and bachelor of public administration degrees from Sukhothai Thammathirat Open University.
Narongsak also had an overseas education stint. In 1988, he received a masters degree in survey engineering and geographic information from Ohio State University.
These many degrees reflect Narongsak’s extensive knowledge and his keen eagerness to study new things.
His wealth of knowledge firmly anchored the rescue operations, as various branches of knowledge have been applied to boost the operations.
Before Narongsak became the governor of Chiang Rai, he was a senior official at the Lands Department where he headed the department’s Map Transformation Group and Mapping Technology Office.
Throughout his career, he has been known for his integrity, courage and honesty.
He is known to speak up if he finds something wrong.
If he finds any project suspicious, he does not give his stamp of approval.
During his stint in Chiang Rai, he blocked several high-profile projects because he felt they were not in the best interests of the public.
Narongsak has never faced criticism or complaints from the people of Chiang Rai.
Earlier this week, the transfer order for Narongsak, 57, to take the post of Phayao governor took effect after its publication in the Royal Gazette. Although he will become the governor of a northern province smaller than Chiang Rai, he will remain the chief of the rescue operations until all the 13 footballers are safely evacuated from the cave.