NIA 7 ‘cannot relocate without go signal from central office’

THE National Irrigation Administration (NIA) 7 cannot vacate the lot it currently occupies on M. Cuenco Ave. in Barangay Banilad, Cebu City without the approval of its central office in Manila.

“Kami mga employees sa NIA willing gyud mi mobalhin, but ang Manila man gud mo-decide,” said Nelson Miralles on Saturday, March 18, 2023.

(We the employees are willing to move, but it’s the central office in Manila that makes the final decision.)

Miralles, chief of the engineering, construction and operations section of NIA 7, said the central office had questioned a portion of the relocation agreement proposed by the Cebu Provincial Government.

He said the lot where the NIA 7 office stands was donated to the agency during the administration of Gov. Osmundo Rama.

He said that if they move to the new lot, it should be under a similar arrangement.

“Wala mi mag-expect nga in-ana ang gi-propose sa Province from deed of donation mobalhin og usufruct,” he said.

(We did not expect the Province to relocate us to a property not under a deed of donation but under a usufruct agreement.)

Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia had offered to relocate the NIA 7 to the Department of Agriculture (DA) Compound in Barangay Guadalupe.

Under the Capitol’s proposal, Miralles said there’s a possibility that the NIA 7 will be kicked out of its relocation site after 25 years.

On Friday, March 17, the Provincial Government fenced off a portion of the lot occupied by the NIA 7, disrupting the agency’s operations.

Miralles clarified that they are not contesting the move since the fenced portion is not included in the land the Capitol donated to the agency under Governor Rama.

“Katunga ra gyud ang gidonate sa amoa. Ang katunga donated, ang katunga is gi-irequest namo sa Province sa time ni governor Lito Osmeña panahon sa early ‘90s,” he said, adding that they are using the adjacent property as NIA 7’s parking lot and also built an equipment storage building there.

(Only half of the lot in Banilad was donated to us. We were able to occupy the other half after former governor Lito Osmeña approved our request in the early 1990s.)

Miralles said NIA 7 employees will continue to report for work at the office in Banilad until they receive further instructions from their central office.

The NIA 7 is in the same boat as the Population Commission 7, which, according to Sugbo News, the Capitol’s social media arm, is not opposed to moving to the DA Compound but awaits instructions from its central office in Manila.

Only the Department of Education 7’s Applied Nutrition Center remains non-committal.

Sugbo News also reported that the Cebu Medical Society already agreed to relocate to the DA Compound, while the Girl Scouts of the Philippines and the National Food Authority 7 agreed to transfer to Sudlon, Lahug.

Sugbo News said the Provincial Government plans to develop the area, which is close to the Cebu IT Park, into economic enterprises that will generate a steady income for the Province.