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Insider named new NIA chief

The Philippine Star

CABANATUAN CITY, Philippines – The new chief of the National Irrigation Administration (NIA) has been named.

C’zar Sulaik, Caraga region irrigation manager, is the personal choice of incoming agriculture secretary Emmanuel Piñol.

Piñol had reportedly known Sulaik when he was assigned to North Cotabato when the former was governor.

NIA Administrator Florencio Padernal, former senior deputy administrator Felix Razo, former deputy administrator Modesto Membreve, former NIA board member Ismael Tabije and former administrator Antonio Nangel were the other contenders for the post.

Padernal, upon being informed that he would be replaced, said he is returning to the private sector.

NIA, which had been placed under the Office of the Presidential Adviser on Food Security and Agriculture Modernization (OPAFSAM) during the Aquino administration, will revert to the Department of Agriculture under the incoming Duterte administration.

Piñol had said he would push for the repeal of President Aquino’s executive order that transferred the NIA, National Food Authority, Philippine Coconut Authority and Fertilizer and Pesticides Authority under OPAFSAM, and place the agencies  under the control of the DA again.

NIA’s gains

Speaking during NIA’s 53rd anniversary celebration on Wednesday, Padernal cited the accomplishments of the agency during his term even as he expressed hope that these would be continued by the incoming administration.

He said the NIA budget increased by 94.7 percent, collection efficiency for irrigation service fees reached 81.76 percent and cropping intensity hit 161 percent.

Padernal said most of  NIA’s projects are almost complete. He said he also  implemented financial reforms, citing the central office’s asset value, which was placed at P2 billion.

“We hope for the best for NIA in the coming years,” he said.

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