Raps eyed vs two NIA lawyers over loss of ₧205-M court case

National Irrigation Administration (NIA) Administrator Benny D. Antiporda and Senior Deputy Administrator Atty. Eryl Royce R. Nagtalon bared plans on Monday to conduct further investigation which may lead to the possible filing of criminal and administrative charges against two lawyers employed by the agency for alleged graft and other administrative charges.

This developed as reportedly NIA stands to lose the Green Asia case amounting to P205,958,119.77 “due to these officials’ lackadaisical attitude and cavalier handling of the case.”

“Such case could have been avoided if they [the NIA lawyers] performed their tasks and duties with devotion, utmost diligence, and good faith,” Antiporda said in a news statement. He, however, did not provide the names of the NIA lawyers, but he identified them as NIA officials holding the position of “Attorney IV.”

Stronger PPP tie-ups

Antiporda also shared the efforts to strengthen NIA’s public-private partnership (PPP) program with 50 potential irrigation projects nationwide. Majority of these are big-ticket multi-purpose projects with hydropower component with potentials on floating solar power farms and Small River Irrigation Projects (SRIPs) with reservoirs can be utilized for floating solar power farm and/or mini-hydroelectric power plants.

Antiporda said the agency could only assure the success of PPP to the investors if there is no corruption and the assurance of return of investments.

At present, NIA has already received pledges of investments amounting to more than P1 trillion through Letters of Intent from different investors, as a result of Antiporda’s efforts.

With PPP’s focus on reduced costs, better risk allocation, faster implementation, improved services, and possible generation of additional revenue, NIA called on the private sector for the much-needed investments to Philippine agriculture.

As part of NIA’s human resource management program, the agency is now looking for the opportunity to regularize its 72 officials nationwide with acting appointments.

Moreover, a total of 564 vacant plantilla (permanent) positions nationwide will be filled up to strengthen the agency’s social capital. The said undertaking is deemed vital to efficiently deliver the agency’s irrigation service to the Filipino farmers.