Aquino dashes NIA chief’s hopes to keep plum position

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01:37 AM July 5th, 2013

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July 5th, 2013 01:37 AM

President Aquino has appointed the No. 2 man in the National Irrigation Administration (NIA), Claro V. Maranan, as its new administrator.

Aquino swiftly signed Maranan’s appointment on Wednesday, the same day Antonio Nangel—whose yearlong appointment as NIA chief officially ended on June 30—was telling the Inquirer that he wasn’t about to leave yet.

Nangel said that although he had accepted the fact that he would be stepping down, he expected to remain in office in a “holdover” capacity for about a year, as 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],” a confident Nangel said on Wednesday.

But Aquino was in no mood to reconsider his decision to fire the beleaguered NIA boss over inefficiencies at the irrigation agency.

“Unless I get amnesia… I don’t have a plan to renew” his appointment, the President told reporters in an ambush interview on Tuesday.

Gone for good

Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda on Thursday said Nangel was gone for good.

“The President has already appointed his replacement—Claro Maranan,” Lacierda said in a phone interview.

Maranan’s appointment papers showed that he would serve from July 1 to June 30, 2014.

Asked why the President would appoint someone from Nangel’s own management team, Lacierda said, “He (Maranan) was in the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) prior to appointment, not NIA.”

Maranan, 54, was assistant general manager of the PPA’s engineering office from January 2005 up to his appointment as NIA senior deputy administrator.

Before that, he was acting manager of the PPA’s engineering services division from August 2003 to January 2005.

He has a master’s degree in public administration from Lyceum of the Philippines University and a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from Luzonian University Foundation.

Alcala’s choice

A letter dated July 3 informing the Department of Agriculture of Maranan’s appointment was forwarded to Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala, who has administrative supervision of the NIA.

The Inquirer reported earlier that Aquino had tasked Alcala with looking for Nangel’s replacement soon after the latter received a public scolding for his agency’s poor performance.

At the 50th anniversary of the NIA on June 25, Aquino devoted his entire speech to pointing out the lackluster performance of the agency.

The NIA, he said, had only a 66-percent accomplishment rate for “new areas of irrigation” from 2001 to 2009, but these “yearly failures” continued through 2012 under Nangel’s watch.

Aquino cited a long-delayed irrigation project in his home province to highlight the agency’s inefficiency. From 2001 through 2012, not once did the NIA accomplish its annual targets for new areas for irrigation, he said.

Nangel was appointed by Aquino to the agency to serve from July 1, 2012, to June 30, 2013. The appointment of officials of government corporations is subject to renewal every year.

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