PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte has signed an executive order abolishing the Negros Island Region (NIR) created during the term of former President Benigno Aquino 3rd.
Executive Order (EO) No. 38, which was signed by the President on August 7, revokes EO 183 signed by Aquino, which created the NIR.
“The administrative regions were established to promote efficiency in the government, accelerate social development and improve public services,” Duterte said in his order.
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.”
“There is a need to ensure that priority government programs and projects are sufficiently funded,” the President said.
“EO No. 183 creating the NIR is hereby revoked. The provinces of Negros Occidental and Negros Oriendtal shall revert to Region 6 and Region 7, respectively,” he added.
Region 6 is Western Visayas; Region 7 is Central Visayas.
EO 38 also abolishes the NIR Regional Offices (ROs) and Regional Councils (RCs) which were established pursuant to Memorandum Circular No. 81 (s.2015).
“All existing personnel of the NIR ROS shall return to their previous units of deployment, or reassigned to other offices within their respective department/agencies,” the EO read.
“The winding up of the operations of the NIR ROs, as well as the final disposition of their functions, positions, personnel, assets and liabilities, shall be done immediately and completed not later than 60 days from the effectivity of this Order,” it added.
The Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) was directed to supervise the reversion of Negros Occidental and Negros Oriental provinces to Region 6 and 7, respectively.
“The DILG may, as necessary, issue guidelines for the reversion of the NIR and abolition of the RCs and ROs,” the EO stated.
On May 29, 2015, Aquino signed Executive Order 183 that separated Negros Occidental from Region 6 and Negros Oriental from Region 7.
The creation of one region for Negros was supported by then Interior Secretary Manuel Roxas 2nd.
With the creation of NIR, Roxas then said that the national government agencies could focus more on the high level of poverty in the two Negros provinces and hasten public investments they needed to progress because of the creation of the NIR.
Aquino has expressed his concerns over the growing number of extrajudicial killings spawned by Duterte’s drug war. He even said a year into the campaign, “nothing has happened”.
Aquino’s comment incurred Duterte’s ire who warned his predecessor against criticizing him, saying that some of the former president’s close aides have been linked to the illegal drug trade. CATHERINE S. VALENTE