Aquino fires NIA head for poor performance

President Aquino confirms he will not renew the contract of National Irrigation Administration head Antonio Nangel

SUPPORT FOR FARMERS. President Benigno Aquino III (center) urged the National Irrigation Administration to do its part in helping Filipino farmers. Photo by Lauro Montellano, Jr./Malacañang Photo Bureau

MANILA, Philippines – “Unless I get amnesia, I have no plans to renew [his contract].”

President Benigno Aquino III had only harsh words for National Irrigation Administration (NIA) head Antonio Nangel, who already incurred the President’s ire  for his poor performance. When asked whether he had plans to fire Nangel, Aquino answered simply, “I think that should be obvious.”

He said unless he miraculously forgets the problems at the NIA, Nangel should not expect to be back. The contract of the NIA administrator is renewed yearly.

The announcement comes about a week after Aquino scolded the agency at their  50th anniversary for missing their targets for the past two years. In an interview with reporters on the sidelines of the Philippine National Police turnover of firearms on Tuesday, July 2, Aquino said he asked the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) to investigate the NIA’s funds.

“The more I wasn’t happy with him,” he said of the results.

According to Aquino, the DBM said it has given the full 100% of budget to NIA every year for 23 years, but the NIA, despite accepting and using 100% of the budget, has only achieved 60% every time.

“I don’t think that’s okay,” he said.

Aquino had also earlier asked for a separate probe on the credibility of the excuses Nangel gave to explain the agency’s subpar performance. Nangel had said they failed to meet their targets because of typhoon Pablo. He also explained if they started with other projects, the working projects’ water supply would be compromised.

Aquino also wondered why the rehabilitation projects had reached 114% completion, but new projects of the NIA “cannot even reach 100%.” Aquino said he refuses to regret the appointment of Nangel at this point, nor is he accusing Nangel of anomalies, but he made it clear his leadership of NIA is over.

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

During NIA’s 50th anniversary last week, Aquino said the NIA only irrigated 32,824 hectares in 2011, or 87% of their 37,759 target, while in 2012, they only managed to irrigate 52,372 hectares or 65% of their target. –

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