Wednesday, July 3, 2013
CABANATUAN CITY, Nueva Ecija–Former National Irrigation Administration chief Antonio Nangel may be a villain and a disappointment to President Aquino but to most people in NIA, he is a hero, hailed as the “best administrator” NIA ever had, believe it or not.
NIA sources told The STAR that Nangel was one of the most hard-working administrators who visited various provinces and implemented several programs and projects that changed the face of NIA and the lives of farmers.
“President Aquino may have a different perspective of Administrator Nangel but he must be looking elsewhere. He does not know him personally. He just relied on some informants,” one of the source said.
Nangel is a Novo Ecijano who worked his way up the ladder. He first broke into prominence as operations manager of the Upper Pampanga River Integrated Irrigation Systems, the country’s largest national irrigation system that runs the giant Pantabangan Dam.
It was during his stint as UPRIIS when it finally became viable in year 2000 after 24 years.
The sources made the statement after Mr. Aquino did not renew Nangel’s appointment over the latter’s supposed failures and questionable fund use. He said he could not understand why NIA never met its target to irrigate new areas of farmlands when it has been getting 100 percent of its budget allocation every year.
The source said it was during Nangel’s watch when most NIA offices, the central office included, underwent a physical make-over and when morale of rank-and-file employees were at their highest. Additionally, all regional offices became viable, the first time it happened in 50 years. “They can say the worst things against him, but the people of NIA know the truth,” the source said.
The source added that when the Chief Executive publicly scolded Nangel last week, the former NIA chief was flooded with expressions of support from officials and employees in various regions. “Many of them even cried. Administrator Nangel was so loved by the people at NIA,” she said.
Others said Nangel devoted much of his time coordinating NIA projects with the various regional and operations managers and barely had time with his family.
Sources said the public scolding of Nangel last week, which precipitated his relief was “stage-managed” and was really meant to embarrass him to justify his departure.
What hurts, they said, was that Nangel was actually due to retire on his 65th birthday last February 14 but was asked to stay on owing his “outstanding performance” as NIA chief.
“In the first place, why would he be extended beyond his retirement if he was not performing well,” one of the sources asked.“He was never given a graceful exit or the courtesy of allowing him to retire quietly without any controversy,” he added. (Manny Galvez)
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