President Benigno Aquino 3rd has signed into law that two Negros provinces in the Visayas be integrated into a single region.
Through Executive Order (EO) 183, signed on May 29, Aquino created “the Negros Island Region” to further “improve the delivery of public services” in the provinces of Negros Occidental and Negros Oriental.
Currently, Negros Occidental is under Western Visayas (Region VI) with regional offices at Iloilo City, while Negros Oriental belongs to Central Visayas (Region VII), with regional offices at Cebu City.
In the EO, Aquino said, “there is a need to further accelerate the social and economic development of the cities and municipalities comprising the provinces of Negros Occidental and Negros Oriental and improve the delivery of public services.”
The proposed region has a population of 4,194,525, as of 2010.
Negros Occidental and Negros Oriental are both first class provinces.
Their respective capitals, however, have different income classifications: Bacolod is a first class city, while Dumaguete is a third class city.
A technical working group has been created, composed of the Office of the President, the budget department, the National Economic Development Authority, the Department of the Interior and Local Government, and representatives of the two provinces.
Aside from drawing up a roadmap for “institutional arrangements” for the new region, the TWG will recommend the regional center.
It will also arrange for organization development, staffing, and budgeting of regional line agonies and regulatory agencies as well as the imperatives for development planning and investment programming.
EO 183 also created theNegros Island Development Council, the Negros Island Peace and Order Council, and the Negros Island Disaster Risk Response Management Council.
The funding for technical working group will be sourced from the implementing agencies and the two Negros provinces, according to the order.