Aquino orders probe on NIA’s failure to meet targets

Natashya Gutierrez
Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda says President Aquino wants to verify the NIA's explanation on their poor performance

DISAPPOINTED. President Benigno Aquino III did not hide his disappointment about the National Irrigation Administration's poor performance. Malacañang Photo Bureau

MANILA, Philippines – A day after scolding the National Irrigation Administration (NIA) for missing their targets, Malacañang Palace is investigating why the government agency has performed poorly since the start of his term.

NIA Administrator Antonio Nangel defended his agency, saying typhoon Pablo (Bopha), which struck areas of Mindanao, was to blame for their failure to meet their targets. He also explained, if they started with other projects, the working projects’ water supply would be compromised.

Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda told reporters on Wednesday, June 26, the President ordered staff to “verify the explanation” of Nangel, but expressed belief the explanation was not acceptable.

“An explanation that the typhoon occurred in December which caused the decrease in their accomplishment is not acceptable because it happened only in one month, December. So the rest of the year, 11 months, there should be substantial work done in the areas wherever the projects are located. So that’s why that is being investigated,” he said.

The NIA, a government corporation, is responsible for irrigation development and management, and is mandated to provide farmers a sustainable, irrigation service. 

Aquino scolded the agency during its 50th anniversary celebration on Tuesday, June 25, for failing to irrigate 81,170 hectares of farmlands in 2012, as well as missing their target in 2011 under the Irrigation Services Development Program.

Not singled out

Aside from the investigation, Lacierda said they are asking for a report from NIA explaining their subpar performance and failing to meet goals the government believes are attainable.

But despite Aquino’s evident disappointment, Lacierda refused to call Aquino’s scolding of the NIA as a wake up call to other government agencies to improve their performance, since the expectation from all agencies has been the same since day one.

“From the very start, the President has said that we have 6 years to deliver our commitments and he expects every agency to perform their mandate to their utmost best,” he said.

He denied the President singled out NIA, and said Aquino is “always frank and candid with respect to an agency’s accomplishments or non-accomplishments.”

Meanwhile the Bureau of Customs, which has also failed to meet its targets but has yet not recevied a reprimand from Aquino, is in the middle of reforms, according to Lacierda. –

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