PRESIDENT Benigno Aquino 3rd was dismayed with the National Irrigation Administration (NIA) for failing to achieve its target of irrigated lands in the last two years.
Aquino expressed his disappointment in a speech he delivered during NIA’s 50th anniversary on Tuesday.
“Halos tatlong taon na po tayong magkakasama sa administrasyong ito, at malamang ay kilala na ninyo ako—wala po tayong panahon sa pambobola [We have been in office for nearly three years and you probably know me—I don’t have time for flattery],” said Aquino.
“Tatapatin ko po kayo: dismayado po pa rin ako, dahil hanggang ngayon, lumalabas na kakarampot pa rin ang pagbabagong nangyayari sa National Irrigation Administration [ I will be honest with you: I am dismayed because up to now, it appears there have been a few changes in the 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 [We are halfway through our term and it is difficult that you still don’t know what to do],” Aquino added.
The President said NIA irrigated 32,824 hectares of land or 87 percent of the target 37,759 hectares in 2011.
In 2012, only 52,732 hectares or 65 percent of the target 81,170 hectares were irrigated.
“‘Di po ba, kayo ang nagbigay ng sarili ninyong target; at malinaw na hindi ninyo naabot ang mga ito [Didn’t you set these targets yourself? It is clear that you did not reach these targets],” the President pointed out. “Tatlong taon na po tayo sa termino natin, pero hanggang ngayon, parang wala pa ring nangyayari [We have been in the office for three years but up to now, nothing has happened].”
“Sa mga higit na nakakakilala sa akin, alam nilang walang talab sa akin ang anumang pagdadahilan o pagpapalusot. Kaya kung nag-usap tayo, at may ipinangako ka, inaasahan kong tutuparin mo ang binitiwan mong salita [To the people who know me, they know that reasons or excuses have no effect on me. If we talk and you promised something, I expect you to keep your word],” he added.
Aquino said he will keep the agency in check as he directed the NIA administration to improve its performance.
“Sa inyo nakasalalay ang katuparan ng mga inisyatibang pang-agrikultura—tulad ng pangarap ng bansang maging rice self-sufficient—at nakaatang din sa inyong balikat ang pagpapaunlad sa kabuhayan ng mga magsasaka [We rely on your agency in achieving agriculture initiatives such as our dream for the country to become rice self-sufficient.
Improving the plight of our farmers also falls of your shoulders],” he said.
“Hinihikayat ko kayo, lalo na ang inyong mga pinuno: Simulan na ninyo ngayon ang pagbabago sa kawanihang ito. Itaguyod ninyo ang kultura ng kahusayan at serbisyong may pananagutan; diligan ninyo ng mabuting pamamahala’t katapatan ang bawat proyekto’t inisyatiba [I am encouring you, especially the leaders, to start the change in this agency.
Let us uphold the culture of excellence and service with accountability and shower each projects with good governance].”
NIA records showed that the country has 10.3 million hectares of agricultural lands, 3.1 million hectares of which are irrigable, with three percent devoted to rice and corn.
Irrigated land areas have increased to 1.73 million hectares in 2012 from 1.48 million hectares in December 2010.
NIA was created through Republic Act 3601 on June 22, 1963. Its mission was the development and management of water resources for irrigation and provision of necessary services on a sustainable basis consistent with the agricultural development program.