THE proposed transfer of the National Irrigation Administration (NIA) to the Department of Agriculture (DA) is supported by the Department of Finance (DoF) and the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), the DA said.

In a statement Tuesday, the DA cited a memorandum by Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III dated April 20 pushing for the transfer of NIA from the Office of the President (OP) to the DA.

“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,” Mr. Dominguez said in the memorandum for President Rodrigo R. Duterte.

Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Karl Kendrick T. Chua said in a letter on Sept. 13 to Deputy Executive Secretary for General Administration McJill Bryant Fernandez that he supports the transfer of the NIA to the DA, adding that it is consistent with the 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,” Mr. Chua said.

On April 19, Agriculture Secretary William D. Dar sent a proposal to Mr. Duterte in which he claimed that the transfer “will support better integration and enhance coordination to maximize available resource to improve the productivity of Philippine agriculture.”

“The transfer will lead to simplicity, economy and efficiency, and better integration and coordination on the fulfillment of their complementary governmental mandates,” Mr. Dar said.

NIA was created in 1963 and placed under the OP. 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, and the DA.

It returned to the OP in 1992 as authorized by Executive Order (EO) No. 22 and was transferred again to the DA via Administrative Order No. 17.

In 2014, NIA was transferred to the OP after the issuance of EO 165, along with the National Food Authority, the Philippine Coconut Authority, and the Fertilizer and Pesticide Authority, under the supervision of the Presidential Assistant for Food Security and Agricultural Modernization.

The NIA board is currently chaired by Cabinet Secretary Karlo Alexei B. Nograles, who also heads the Inter-Agency Task Force on Zero Hunger. — Revin Mikhael D. Ochave