Place NIA under DA, solon urges amid alleged irregularities
MANILA, Philippines — The National Irrigation Authority (NIA) should be placed under the Department of Agriculture (DA), and not the Office of the President, a lawmaker said Tuesday.
Magsasaka Rep. Argel Joseph Cabatbat made the remark after the Commission on Audit (COA), for the fifth straight year, called out the NIA for more multibillion-peso irregularities.
“NIA reverting to DA makes perfect sense since the Agriculture department should be in charge of everything about the sector—from making sure planting activities are on time and yields sustained, to ensuring proper irrigation systems,” Cabatbat said in a statement.
“NIA should share DA’s resources and act as a service agency, instead of a money-making corporate agency that is now being a government owned and controlled corporation,” he added.
In its 2020 audit report, the COA said the NIA awarded 841 contracts, worth P6.579 billion, to various contractors with deficient documents, including nondisclosure of project cost and percentage of accomplishment, among others, in violation of Republic Act No. 9184, or the Government Procurement Reform Act. — McKenzie Kinsella, INQUIRER.net trainee