Manila, Philippines – The National Irrigation Administration (NIA) received scolding from President Benigno Aquino III during their 50th anniversary celebration yesterday.

Instead of praises and bonus, Aquino pointed out that NIA failed to meet its targets of irrigating new lands since the start of his term.

PNoy did not hide his disappointment towards the said agency regarding their subpar performance that affects the country’s targets for rice self-sufficiency and agricultural productivity.

“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,” Aquino said.

Aquino addressed NIA Administrator Antonio Nangel and his workforce and told them that they can still improve their performance in serving the farmers.

Aquino, however, did not fail to enumerate the targets the agency hasn’t met.

He stated that NIA failed to meet its targets from 2001 to 2009 and during 2005, the agency only irrigated 56 percent of its projects and 40 percent on 2006.

Aquino further said that at the end of 2009, NIA reported only 66 percent accomplishment rate from the target it set to irrigate new lands.

In 2011, under his administration, PNoy said that NIA achieve 87 percent of its target but on the following year, it fell to 65 percent.

“We are going back to line of six. We might go back to line of three. Isn’t it that you’re the ones who set your targets and clearly you were not able to meet them. Of course, the question will be, why?” Aquino asked.

The president also stated that he felt that NIA officials are encouraging him to monitor their performances strictly.

“To those who know me better, they know that any excuses or making alibis will not work with me. So if we talked and you promised something, I would expect you to be true to your word,” Aquino said.

NIA Administrator Antonio Nangel defended his agency and said that typhoon Pablo was the reason why they fail to meet their targets. He further stated that if they are to start on other projects, the on-going projects relating to water supply might be compromised.

Malacañang to probe on NIA’s explanation

After scolding NIA, Aquino ordered Malacañang Palace to probe on the explanation provided by Nangel.

“The President has ordered to verify the explanation of NIA Administrator Nangel. So we’re verifying the explanation of the administrator because he mentioned that Mindanao, as a whole, was affected by typhoon ‘Pablo,” Presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said on Wednesday.

Lacierda said that the public was aware that Davao Oriental and Compostela Valley were the provinces struck by Pablo in December 2012.

“An explanation that the typhoon occurred in December which caused the decrease in their accomplishment is not acceptable because it happened only in one month, December. So the rest of the year, 11 months, there should be substantial work done in the areas wherever the projects are located. So that’s why that is being investigated,”  he noted.

Asked if PNoy public’s scolding of NIA is a wake-up call for other government agencies, Lacierda explained that it wasn’t the first time PNoy had done it.

“The President is always frank and candid with respect to an agency’s accomplishments or non-accomplishments,” he said.

Lacierda further explained that Aquino was just pointing out that his administration has six years to deliver its commitments and that the president is expecting every agency to perform at their best.

NIA is a government agency which is accountable for irrigation development and has a directive to follow in providing sustainable irrigation services to farmers.