Engr. Benito T. Espique, Jr. is new chief of NIA-CAR

Engr. Benito T. Espique, Jr. is the newly designated Acting Regional Manager of the National Irrigation Administration-Cordillera Administrative Region (NIA-CAR) as per NIA Office Memorandum No. 55 effective August 1, 2017. This is relative to the retirement of Engr. John Socalo, outgoing regional manager of NIA-CAR, who turned 65 on August 4, 2017.

To signal this change of leadership, a simple management turnover ceremony was held on July 27 at the NIA Cordillera Farmers’ Training Hall, Wangal, La Trinidad, Benguet.

“As you receive this key and the responsibility, power and authority vested in it, handle it with courage but with humility. May God bless and help you in all your undertakings,” Engr. Socalo said to the incoming chief. He went on to share his work experiences, how his mistakes made him learn and how these helped him when he became regional manager of NIA-CAR.

In his acceptance speech, Engr. Espique, Jr. asked for the continued support of the IMO managers, division managers, section chiefs, provincial coordinators and all employees and staff of NIA-CAR. He assured that he will do his best to continue leading NIA-CAR, guided with the four-point agenda of the current NIA Administrator. He will also carry on with the fast tracking of the implementation of ongoing irrigation projects, not only for the rice areas but also for the high value crop areas.

Benguet Governor Cresencio Pacalso, Mr. Peter Guibac from the Office of the Congressman of the Lone District of Benguet and Atty. Miller Quintin of the Municipality of La Trinidad came as witnesses of this symbolic event and expressed their continued support to the NIA-CAR as one key government agency in the province and in the region. As a government agency, NIA’s mission is the construction, operation and maintenance of irrigation systems consistent with integrated water resource management principles to improve agricultural productivity and increase farmers’ income.

Engr. Espique, Jr. is the sixth to head NIA-CAR, which was created in May 1993. Currently, it has two Irrigation Management Offices (IMO), Kalinga and Apayao IMOs which supervise the biggest irrigation systems in the region, Upper Chico River Irrigation System (UCRIS) with service areas in Kalinga and Quezon, Isabela, and the West Apayao Abulug Irrigation System (WAAIS) with service areas in Apayao and Cagayan. Meanwhile, the Abra-Benguet-Ifugao-Mountain Province Irrigation Office is directly under the supervision of the regional office and has satellite offices in the provinces.

Before his designation, Engr. Espique, Jr. was Division Manager of the Kalinga Irrigation Management Office (KIMO), a position he held since January 2014. Prior to that, he was Manager of the Engineering and Operations Division of the Regional Office. Before the NIA Rationalization Plan in 2009, he was the Provincial Irrigation Officer II of then Benguet Provincial Irrigation Office (BPIO). He entered NIA as engineering assistant in 1987 when Benguet PIO was still under the wings of NIA Region 1.

The new head of NIA-CAR graduated from Saint Louis University with the degree Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering and later obtained Master in Public Administration at the University of Baguio.

Photo Caption: Engr. John Socalo, outgoing regional manager of NIA-CAR, turns-over the symbolic key of responsibility to Engr. Benito Espique, Jr., the designated Acting Regional Manager during a simple management turnover ceremony at the NIA Cordillera Farmers’ Training Center  in Wangal, La Trinidad, Benguet on July 27.