New NIA chief appointed to rid the agency of graft, corruption
By Juan Escandor Jr. NAGA CITY---After retiring from the military service, newly-appointed administrator of the National Irrigation Administration revealed Tuesday that he was appointed to his new position to rid the agency of graft and corruption. Administrator Ricardo Visaya, former AFP Chief of Staff, told local reporters in a press conference Tuesday (June 6) that “the first issue why I was designated by the President as the administrator is the issue of graft and corruption that reached him.” “My first priority is the eradication of graft and corruption,” Visaya added. In March, Peter Laviña, long-time associate of President Duterte, quit his post as NIA administrator on the issue that he received cash from contractors. Laviña denied the allegation as he said he was quietly leaving the government to spare the President from embarrassment. Visaya said he has his way of finding out and soon there will actions to be taken regarding the previous allegations of corruption which Malacañang is undertaking. He admitted that since he came from the military he knew nothing about irrigation. “You know where I came from. I came from the military and it has nothing to do with irrigation,” Visaya said. He said his learning curve in administering NIA will be long. Visaya said that during his military assignment in Central Luzon he was tagged as anti-farmer because there were many farmers who died during encounters. “Why were there so many farmers who died in the encounters? Because many who were recruited by the New People’s Army were farmers. Like why were the farmers from Aurora were killed in Tarlac?” Visaya said the government needs more information drive so that the farmers will not be recruited by the communist rebels. Reacting on the question why President Duterte has been appointing retired generals to the Cabinet, he said that the president exercises his prerogative who to appoint in any position under his administration. “What I see in the President is that when he was still the mayor in Davao City, he worked closely with the military. The situation in Davao in the 70s and 80s was very turbulent. Modesty aside, it was the military who helped him in restoring the peace in Davao. So, he knew how military men work,” Visaya narrated.