National Irrigation Administration (NIA) chief Antonio S. Nangel said he had accepted the fact that he would be stepping down and would just wait for his replacement.
In an interview, Nangel, however, said he expected to remain in office in a “hold over” capacity for about a year since the process of installing a new administrator could take that long.
“The President will be reappointing a new member of the board and the board will have to elect a new [NIA head],” he explained.
Rumors that Nangel may be on the way out spread when President Aquino lamented the NIA’s poor performance during its 50th anniversary celebration last Tuesday.
Nangel was supposed to have retired in early 2012 but his tenure was extended up to the end of last month. Insiders said his term was extended because no one was named to succeed him.
“It’s OK. I serve at the pleasure of the President,” he said when asked about his being removed.
However, Nangel, an engineer, defended his track record, saying that NIA reported a net income for the first time in 2012 under his leadership.
“We had a surplus of P948 million last year,” he said. “That is net of our revenue of P3.6 billion.”
Created in 1963, the NIA is a government-owned and -controlled corporation tasked with the development and operation of irrigation systems and provide irrigation services for the government’s agricultural programs.
NIA generates revenues from irrigation fees, but also receives subsidies from the national treasury.
Last week, Aquino criticized NIA’s lackluster performance, such as bringing water to only 65 percent of its target of 81,170 hectares of new areas.
Nangel said the data cited was as of last May. He said that as of July 2, NIA has irrigated 58,854 has of new areas or 72 percent.
NIA has also restored water supply to 80 percent of its 53,870-ha goal.
“We will achieve all our targets but with a slight delay,” Nangel said. “The remaining [unirrigated areas] will get water by September.”
He said the delay was due mainly to the 11 weather disturbances that damaged NIA projects across the country.
He added that some newly finished projects got hit by typhoons and would have to be repaired. They could not be reported as part of NIA’s accomplishments, he said.