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PNoy scolds NIA men on anniversary

By Joyce Pangco Panares | Jun. 26, 2013 at 12:02am
President Benigno Aquino III on Tuesday scolded the officials and employees of the National Irrigation Administration for failing to accomplish their self-imposed target of irrigating all agricultural land.

“We have been together for three years, and by now you already know that I am not to give empty praises,” Aquino said on the occasion of NIA’S 50th anniversary.

Before the rebuke. President Aquino chats with Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala during the celebration of the National Irrigation Administration’s 50th anniversary at the NIA Open Grounds in  Quezon City on Tuesday. Later during his speech, Aquino scolded the NIA chief for failing to meet his targets.

“I will be honest with you: I am dismayed because, until now, it appears that NIA has accomplished very little.”

The President, who delivered his speech with NIA administrator Antonio Nangel in attendance, said the agency only managed to provide irrigation to 65 percent of their target of 81,170 hectares of land last year.

He also cited as an example NIA’s inaction on the Balog-Balog Dam Project in Tarlac.

“Twenty years have passed since the Balog-Balog project was planned. How many administrations have already passed? Until now the project has not progressed,” said the President who hails from Tarlac.

He said NIA’s failure had prompted him to closely monitor the agency.

“I am only human,” Aquino said.

“I am not a closed-circuit television to monitor all government institutions 24/7. But with what is happening in NIA now, I feel that you yourselves have invited me to keep a close eye on you.”

The Balog Balog Multipurpose Project intends to provide water for the year-round irrigation of about 39,150 hectares in the municipalities of Concepcion, Gerona, Pura, Ramos, Paniqui, La Paz, Victoria and the City of Tarlac, all in the Province of Tarlac.

The Balog Balog project aside, the NIA website showed that its other ongoing projects include irrigation projects in Palayan City, Nueva Ecija; Bago in Negros Occidental; Banaoang in Ilocos Sur; Casecnan in Nueva Ecija; and the Catubig project in Northern Samar and other smaller projects in other parts of the country.

On the other hand, NIA’s completed projects include the Addalam River Irrigation Project in Cagayan Valley.

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