Saturday, June 21, 2014

At NIA, it’s more fun in anniversary rites sans Noy

MANILA-Rank-and-file employees of the National Irrigation Administration (NIA) are visibly elated and are having fun during the agency’s 51st anniversary rites at the agency’s central office along Edsa Friday afternoon.

          Reason : there is no President Aquino around to ruin the party, he being a known KJ or killjoy, a term to describe party spoiler.

          During last Friday’s awarding rites for most outstanding irrigators’ associations, operation managers and project managers, employees were seen exhibiting unbridled emotion, raining the area with cheers. They were overjoyed that the Chief Executive was not invited to possibly – again – ruin their day with a sermon just like what he did last year.

          “Buti naman at wala siya dito. KJ siya kasi. Masisira lang ang araw namin. Baka manermon na naman (It’s a good thing he was not here. It’s because he’s a KJ.He would unmake our day. He might deliver another sermon),” one of the employees commented.

          He recalled that Mr. Aquino’s speech during last year’s anniversary rites where he lambasted then-administrator Antonio Nangel while everybody was in a jolly and upbeat mood still leaves a bad taste in the mouth of the NIA family, particularly the employees who were expecting him to announce an anniversary bonus.

It would be recalled that in June last year, Aquino scolded Nangel over the agency’s supposed failure to meet its targets. The President, in last year’s 15-minute speech, said he was “dismayed” with the NIA leadership because it was only able to irrigate 52,000 hectares out of its 81,170-hectare target in 2012, or a 65% accomplishment rate.

From 2001 to 2009, he said NIA failed to meet its yearly irrigation targets, getting as far as only 66%. He said in 2011, when he was already President, NIA was able to irrigate 32,830 out of its target area of 37,659 hectares or a high 87%.

“I will be honest with you, I am still dismayed because until now, it shows that there is little change happening in the National Irrigation Administration. We are already in the middle of our term and it is difficult if until now, you still don’t know what you want to do,” he told Nangel as Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala looked on.

He also failed to hide his disappointment over the non-implementation of Phase 2 of the Balog-Balog Irrigation Project in his home province of Tarlac.

After finishing his sermon, the President left in a huff, without even waving to the crowd who he failed to acknowledge at the start of his speech.

Prior to Mr. Aquino’s speech, the atmosphere inside the oven-hot venue was festive and upbeat as Nangel excitedly rattled off the agency’s accomplishments under his watch. He said that irrigation development in the country rose from 49% in 2009 to 56% in 2012 owing to the funding support from the Aquino administration.

          Employees called the presidential dressing-down as uncalled for and inappropriate as he ignored the agency’s having achieved corporate financial viability, the first time it has happened in 50 years.

A week later, he replaced Nangel with Claro Maranan.

In last Friday’s rites, the culminating activity of a week-long festivity, employees shouted themselves hoarse during the awarding ceremonies, marked by a fashion show of the 60’s and 80’s.  

          Maranan reported that among the accomplishments made by the agency has been improvements in its database and that it has bidded out the projects for 2012 and 2013. 

          He added that as of March of 2014, NIA’s accomplishment was around 72.54% that shows improvement in the delivery of irrigation development projects.

          This year’s anniversary rites, which carry the theme: Tulong-tulong, Sama-sama sa Pagsulong ng NIA sa Pandaigdigang Pagbabago ng Klima,” kicked off last June 16 with a business forum and the setting up of a tiangge and fun games.

          Maranan reported that NIA passed a two-day performance evaluation conducted by the Office of the Presidential Adviser on Food Security and Agriculture Modernization led by Secretary Francis Pangilinan. (Manny Galvez)

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