Former AFP chief Visaya is new NIA head
MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte chose former Armed Forces chief General Ricardo Visaya as the new head of the National Irrigation Administration (NIA), a Cabinet official confirmed on Tuesday, March 7.
Agriculture Secretary Manny Piñol confirmed in a text message to Rappler that the President made the announcement in a Cabinet meeting on Monday, March 6.
"It (the appointment) was announced by the President last night," Piñol said, when asked about Visaya's appointment.
Visaya, who retired upon reaching the mandatory age of 56 in December 2016, will take over the NIA after Peter Laviña was sacked over corruption allegations in late February.
Visaya will join the ranks of other former AFP chiefs serving the Duterte administration, such as National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr, Office of the President Undersecretary Emmanuel Bautista, and Defense Undersecretary Ricardo David.
At the AFP change of command ceremony on December 7, Duterte had joked that Visaya could take his pick among choice government positions.
In his speech then, the President told the general: "General Visaya, mamili ka na ng puwesto diyan, Sir (choose a position, Sir). Choose your position. That is how grateful the nation is to you."
Bicol media first reported the possibility that Visaya would replace Laviña, based on an interview with Ed Yu, spokesperson of NIA-Bicol. Yu had said that this was revealed to him by Laviña himself. – Rappler.com