Friday, February 18, 2011

Agriculture Secretary Alcala rallies support for NIA chief Nangel

CABANATUAN CITY, Nueva Ecija, February 18, 2011-In the midst of the reports that National Irrigation Administration chief Antonio Nangel is set to be replaced, Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala yesterday manifested his full trust and confidence to Nangel, adding that President Aquino is a proven supporter of certified performers in his Cabinet as he squelched speculations Nangel, who was appointed last September, is on the way out.

“Palagay ko hindi nila gustong alisin ‘yung nagtatrabaho (I think they would never remove someone who is performing),” he said, referring to Nangel as top-level officials and employees of NIA cheered the NIA head on.

Earlier published reports said Nangel, a Novo Ecijano, is going to be replaced with two contenders being considered for the post. One of those seeking the post is a certain Dr. Rafael Apostol.

Alcala said that the reports are largely unfounded and baseless, saying these reports should not be dignified by the DA family and the public. “Ang galing naman nila, mas nauna pa silang nakaalam kaysa sa akin (They must have good intelligence they even knew it ahead of me),” he said of those behind the ouster move.

DA Undersecretary for administration and finance Antonio Fleta said that while Apostol may be qualified for the post, Nangel brings to the job his excellent track record as a public servant. “Moreover, he demonstrated his ability for teamwork and adherence to the new thrusts and objective set by this Department in line with the President’s program of governance.

He added that performance-wise, Nangel’s replacement “is not propitious at this time, given the fact that he is not only fully qualified for the job but also responding well to the problems besetting said agency.”

“So far, he has earned the implicit trust and confidence of this Office (DA),” he said.

Before he was named  to head NIA, Nangel was thrice conferred number one (1) regional manager of the year award for steering the Upper Pampanga River Integrated Irrigation Systems as the country’s largest national irrigation systems to success in the implementation of its projects.

Alcala said Nangel is a hands-on performer who goes out to the field to keep in touch with farmers, irrigators and stakeholders, particularly in Mindanao.

Senior deputy administrator Antonio Galvez, one of the top contenders for the NIA post prior to Nangel’s appointment said he is for the latter’s retention. “I’m behind him all the way,” he said.

Officials of the NIA’s Association of Regional Directors and Project Managers also backed up Nangel, saying not one among their 32 members is dissatisfied with Nangel’s performance.

Vicente Galvez, ARDOMA president and NIA regional director for Cagayan Valley, said if reports Nangel would be replaced were true, these would be a terrible mistake.

“Baka naman nagkakamali sila? Napakaganda ng performance e bakit tatanggalin? (They may be committing a big mistake? He’s performing well so why replace?),” he said.

He said Nangel’s competence and qualifications are beyond question and any move to replace him would be unjustified.

Nangel said he was flattered by the expression of support from Alcala and the DA family, saying it would spur him to carry on the NIA’s mandate of providing irrigation service to farmlands all over the country for the benefit of farmers. (Jason de Asis)

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