Negrenses saddened over dissolution of Negros Island Region

Published August 10, 2017 5:46am

Negrense officials and leaders were saddened by the executive order (EO) issued by President Rodrigo Duterte dissolving Negros Island Region (NIR), more than two years after it was created by the previous administration.

Negros Occidental Gov. Alfredo Marañon Jr. said he is slightly dismayed and disappointed on the action made by the president abolishing the youngest region.

He said they have to accept and respect the decision.

“We will still continue to work and collaborate with neighboring province - Negros Oriental,” he added.

On Monday, August 7, Duterte signed EO No. 38, revoking the creation of NIR citing lack of funds.

The order stated that the establishment of regional offices of departments and agencies in the NIR requires substantial appropriation to be fully operational, thus competing with government priority programs and projects for funding.

Through the order, the provinces of Negros Occidental and Negros Oriental will now revert to Western Visayas (Region 6) and Negros Oriental to Central Visayas (Region 7), respectively.

Negros Occidental Vice Gov. Eugenio Jose Lacson said the “NIR is not priority for this administration as can be understood in the order.”

Lacson proposed to create a special body to continue the cooperation with Negros Oriental.

Negros Occidental 3rd District Representative Alfredo Benitez said it is a “sad day for Negros.”

Despite the dissolution, the legislator assured Negrenses that they will try to ensure it won’t have a negative consequence to the province.

The members of the business sector said they respect the decision of the president.

The Metro Bacolod Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MBCCI) and Negros Oriental Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NOCCI), in a joint statement, said national leaders know better, and that they have a broader macro perspective on what is good for the country.

The groups suggested to develop Negros Island as a special area for development amid the abolition. “It shall be directed and managed by the Negros Island Development Council.”

On May 29, 2015, Duterte’s predecessor, former president Benigno Aquino III, signed the EO 138 creating NIR.

During the 2016 elections, Marañon and Negros Oriental Governor Roel Degamo supported the presidential bid of Duterte’s opponent, former Interior secretary Manuel Roxas II, who also pushed for the creation of the one-island region. 

After the elections, the two top officials of Negros joined the ruling Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban). — BAP, GMA News