1,272 NIA employees to ‘retire’ this year

LEGAZPI CITY—Implementing this year, a 5-year rationalization plan in pursuance of Executive Order 718, the National Irrigation Administration (NIA) has to “retire” 1,272 employees of which 108 come from Bicol, according to a high-ranking official of the agency.

Deputy Administrator Alexander Reuyan said the retiring employees are provided “sweetener” if they avail this year of the “retirement”, which means, he said, the employees would be rewarded with a sum equivalent to one-month salary for every year of service on top of the retirement benefits.

Reuyan said the Department of Budget and Management has already earmarked P571 million for the NIA’s 5-year rationalization plan financed by a World Bank loan.

“The NIA employees are given the option when to go,” he explained.

For the next four years, from 2009-2012, the yearly batches of NIA employees to be retired would have another total of 1,207, making the final total of 2,479 employees retired.

Reuyan said the rationalization plan is the agency’s adjustment to the eventual transfer to the irrigators associations the management and administration of the irrigation systems the NIA built that he said made several positions redundant.

The NIA had built networks of irrigation systems all over the country covering 1.2 million hectares of rice lands since it was founded on June 22, 1963, at the time of the late President Diosdado Macapagal who signed its creation under RA 3601. At present however, the operational irrigation systems were reduced to service only 0.83 million hectares of rice lands in the entire archipelago.

Each irrigation system has an organized irrigator association that directly participates in the management and administration of the facility as the NIA provides technical input and support and collects irrigation fees from the farmer-beneficiaries.

At present there are over 6,000 personnel, on regular and contractual bases, employed with the NIA.

Eduardo Yu, Bicol district president of the NIA Employees Association of the Philippines, said they have agreed to the implementation of the rationalization plan because it provides “safety net” to retiring employees who will be paid with their monthly salaries as they wait for the actual payment of retirement compensation.

“The NIAEASP Bicol District and even its national council stand on the NIA rationalization Plan (RP) is that of critical collaboration with the management in its implementation. Although NIAEASP, in principle is opposed to the RP, the survey that was conducted by NIA showed that majority of employees nationwide were interested and willing to avail of the RP retirement package,” Yu declared.

“By critical collaboration, we want to ensure that NIA employees affected by the RP are given the benefits (retirement incentives, terminal leave plus the retirement benefits from the GSIS, PAG-IBIG, etc) due them as provided for by Executive Order 366 (the general law on rationalization) and EO 718 (the one implementing the RP specifically for NIA),” he further elaborated in a statement.

Yu explained that the DBM will pay the retirement incentives plus terminal leave of affected employees who opted to retire on the first year. And that, for employees going out on the second to the fifth year, DBM will provide the retirement incentives, while NIA under the WB funded project, PIDP, will pay the terminal leave.(BicolMail)

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