Presidential aspirant Ferdinand ‘Bongbong’ Marcos, Jr. on Tuesday backed the proposed transfer of the National Irrigation Administration (NIA) under the jurisdiction of the Department of Agriculture (DA) saying that the move is the right step towards helping Filipino farmers improve their crop yields.
Marcos pointed out that the DA, being the primary agency handling the agriculture sector, has all the pertinent data, programs, equipment, and experts. He added that both agencies would be better able to fulfill their mandates and deliver better services to Filipino farmers if their program strategies and targets are aligned.
“The DA and NIA have a common objective of ensuring food security in our country and transferring the NIA to the DA could enhance food production nationwide. Their integrated programs and interventions would develop the agriculture sector which is key to our economic development,” he added.
NIA is mandated to provide efficient, effective, and sustainable irrigation services aimed at helping Filipino farmers increase their yields and thus contribute to the country’s inclusive economic growth.
Studies show that proper irrigation is a major driver of productivity in farms with more than 60 percent of rice fields depending on irrigation more than rainwater.
“Mula nang magkaroon ng irrigation dito sa ating bansa, hindi na lang isang beses sa isang taon nakakapag-ani ang mga magsasaka natin dahil nakakapagtanim na sila kahit hindi tag-ulan. Kaya talagang dapat nating ayusin ang ating irrigation system,” the presidential aspirant stressed.
The NIA is a government-owned and controlled corporation (GOCC) created under Republic Act (RA) 3601 and was under the Office of the President (OP) when it was created in 1963.
It was transferred to the Department of Public Works, Transportation, and Communication in 1972, and was attached to the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) and DA in 1987. In 1992, the NIA returned to the OP but was transferred again to the DA. In 2014, NIA was later on moved to the OP by Executive Order No. 165.
Last April, Agriculture Secretary William D. Dar requested the transfer which he said, would support better integration and enhance coordination to maximize available resources to improve the productivity of Philippine agriculture.