The President has directed the National Irrigation Administration (NIA) to improve its performance and finally meet its target of new irrigated farmlands for 2013 and the years to come.
President Benigno Aquino III underscored the need for the NIA to work harder to meet its target this year and the coming years in his speech during the 50th anniversary celebration of NIA at the NIA Open Grounds, NIA Building Complex in Diliman, Quezon City.
“It was you who set your own target under the Irrigation Services Development Program and it is clear that you did not meet it,” Aquino told NIA Administrator Engineer Antonio S. Nangel and his employees even as he reminded them to fulfill NIA’s mandate to develop and rehabilitate irrigation systems in support of the administration’s Rice Self Sufficiency Program and provide an adequate level of irrigation service on a sustainable basis to help the country’s farmers.
“Tatapatin ko po kayo, dismayado pa rin ako, dahil hanggang ngayon, lumalabas na kakarampot pa rin ang pagbabagong nangyayari sa National Irrigation Administration. Nasa kalahati na po tayo ng ating termino, at mahirap naman po kung hanggang ngayon, hindi mo pa rin alam ang gusto mong gawin,” he said.
In 2011, the NIA targetted 37,759 hectares of new farmlands to be irrigated but only 32,824 hectares or 87 percent were finished. Last year, it targetted 81,170 hectares new irrigated farmlands but again fell short with 52,372 hectares or 65 percent.
The President cited the case of the Balog-Balog irrigation project in Tarlac that has remained unfinished 21 years after it was planned.
“We are now in the third year of our term, but until now, nothing has happened,” Aquino said.
The President said that a private proponent is willing to e 3 harvest cycles lang ang nagawa. Malinaw namang may 4.5 harvest cycles na naantala na sanay napapakinabangan ng ating mga magsasaka. Bigas na, naging bato pa,” he said.
The President told Nangel and his employees that there is still time to improve their performance to better serve the farmers.
“Hindi pa po huli ang lahat. Sa inyong anibersaryo, nawa’y sumibol ang panibagong pagkakataon upang sama-sama nating mapalago ang kultura ng pagbabagong ating isinusulong sa tuwid na daan,” he said.
The NIA is a government-owned and controlled corporation primarily responsible for irrigation development and management. It was created under Republic Act 3601 on June 22, 1963. Its charter was amended by Presidential Decree 552 on September 11, 1974 and Presidential Decree 1702 on July 17, 1980. Both increased the capitalization and broadened the authority of the Agency.#