7 NIA execs in 'hot water' over unfinished, substandard projects

By Mar Serrano

LEGAZPI CITY -- At least seven officials of the National Irrigation Administration (NIA) are facing investigation due to alleged project irregularities in their respective areas, according to the agency's top official.

Ricardo Visaya, NIA administrator, said in an interview on Sunday the anomalies ranged from substandard to unfinished projects.

He said the project delays were very disadvantageous to the agency in terms of time frame and also spelled losses to the government coffers.

“We have to take action on this because this was the marching order I received from President Duterte when I took over NIA,” Visaya said.

He recalled that when he assumed office, his priority was to initiate an anti-corruption program in line with the Chief Executive's order to cleanse the agency of corrupt officials. “The cleansing process would push through from top to bottom,” he said.

Visaya begged off from identifying the officials though, saying that the charges are still being investigated by the agency and the Office of the Ombudsman.

He, however, said some of them are regional and provincial managers while others are construction engineers with work assignments in Central Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao.

Meanwhile, Visaya is set to lead national and local officials in the groundbreaking ceremony of the PHP381-million Ibingan Small Reservoir Irrigation Project (SRIP) in Prieto Diaz, Sorsogon.

The irrigation dam project is a 27.20-meter high zone earth-filled dam with a total storage of 0.6591 million cubic meters (MCM) of water. It will cover 489 hectares of irrigable land, benefitting 584 farmers in 15 villages. (PNA)