President Rodrigo Duterte has signed an executive order abolishing the Negros Island Region (NIR) created during the term of former President Benigno Aquino 3rd.
He cited lack of funds for dissolving the consolidated regions.
In signing Executive Order (EO) No. 38 on August 7 that revokes EO 183 which created NIR, the President said “the administrative regions were established to promote efficiency in government, accelerate social development and improve public services.
He noted 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.”
“EO No. 183 creating the NIR is hereby revoked. The provinces of Negros Occidental and Negros Oriental shall revert to Region 6 [Western Visayas] and Region 7 [Central Visayas], respectively,” he added.
The new EO also abolishes the NIR Regional Offices (ROs) and Regional Councils (RCs) established pursuant to Memorandum Circular No. 81 (s.2015). Existing personnel of the NIR ROS will return to their previous units of deployment, or be reassigned to other offices within their respective department/agencies.
The Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) was directed to supervise the implementation of the order.
Meanwhile, Negros leaders see the “bright side” in the dissolution of NIR.
Negros Occidental Gov. Alfredo Maranon Jr., said the two Negros provinces “are partners whether there is a Negros Island region or not, adding that the two provinces “will continue to work for the best of Negros.”
However, he expressed concern over possible problems in the existing regional offices like the police, education, agriculture and social welfare.
Negros Oriental Gov. Roel Degamo, expressed support for the President’s decision and vowed to “continue to be one island and friends and [pursue]whatever programs already started that is beneficial for the whole island.”
Vice Gov. Eugenio Jose Lacson said “NIR is not a priority for this administration as can be understood in the order.”
“I propose that a special body be created to continue the cooperation with Negros Oriental. If we step back, we may lose whatever has been gained through the NIR Regional Development Council,” he said.
Similarly, the president of Negros Oriental Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NOCCI), Edward Du said they will respect the decision of the President abolishing the NIR.
Du, on Wednesday afternoon, disclosed that they have come up with a common statement on the matter with the Metro Bacolod Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MBCCI), their counterpart in Negros Occidental.
On May 29, 2015, Aquino signed the EO that separated the Negros provinces which was supported by then Interior Secretary Manuel Roxas 2nd.
With the creation of NIR, Roxas then said the national government agencies could focus more on the high level of poverty in the two Negros provinces and hasten public investments.
Roxas’ family hails from Negros Occidental as his mother, Judy Araneta-Roxas, is from Bago City.
WITH EUGENE ADIONG and PNA