DOF, Neda back transfer of irrigation agency to DA


The Department of Finance (DOF) and the National Economic and Development Authority (Neda) are supporting a proposal to transfer the National Irrigation Administration (NIA) from the Office of the President (OP) to the Department of Agriculture (DA).

The DA made the proposal in a letter to President Duterte in April, as “transferring NIA back to DA will support better integration and enhance coordination to maximize available resource to improve the productivity of Philippine agriculture.”

“By making NIA an attached agency of the DA, we believe that both agencies will be better able to fulfill their respective mandates and deliver better outcomes for their shared benefit—the Filipino farmers,” said Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez in an April 20 memorandum for the president supporting the proposal to transfer the NIA to the DA.

Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Karl Kendrick Chua said: “Neda agrees with the merits raised by the DA to ensure stronger and better complementation of interventions and activities to develop the agriculture sector.”

“The NIA was created by virtue of Republic Act 3601 [1963], as amended, to expand irrigated farmlands in order to better program the production of agricultural crops, increase the productivity of our framers, and ensure a stable supply of farm commodities,” Chua said in his letter to Deputy Executive Secretary for General Administration McJill Bryant Fernandez, on September 13.

Chua, who also serves as Neda director general, said transferring the NIA to DA is consistent with the priority strategy of the government under the Updated Philippine Development Plan 2017-2022.

“The transfer of supervision over NIA will also ensure the accelerated development of modern and climate resilient irrigation facilities which are critical in implementing DA’s reform agenda to achieve a modern and industrialized Philippine agriculture,” Chua said.

The NIA was placed under the Office of the President (OP) upon its creation in 1963. In 1972, it was attached to the Department of Public Works, Transportation, and Communication. In 1987, it was attached to both the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), and DA.

In 1992, it was transferred back to OP, pursuant to Executive Order (EO) 22, and then transferred again to DA, as an attached agency through Administrative Order 17.

In 2014, along with other three agencies (National Food Authority, Philippine Coconut Authority, and Fertilizer and Pesticide Authority), the NIA was again transferred to the OP through EO 165, under the supervision of the Presidential Assistant for Food Security and Agricultural Modernization.

The NIA Board of Directors is currently chaired by Cabinet Secretary Karlo Alexei Nograles. He also heads the Inter-Agency Task Force on Zero Hunger.

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