Retain Negros Island regional offices, local execs urge Malacañang
BACOLOD CITY, Philippines – Some of the directors in Negros Island Region (NIR) are seeking to convert their regional offices into satellite offices to ensure faster delivery of basic services.
One of the major reasons the NIR was created was to make services accessible to several cities and municipalities. The regional offices of Western Visayas and Central Visayas – the mother regions – were hours long away from certain localities of Negros Occidental and Negros Oriental provinces.
President Benigno Aquino III signed executive order creating the NIR on May 29, 2015. It separated Negros Occidental from Western Visayas, and Negros Oriental from Central Visayas, to accelerate social and economic development in the two provinces.
Under NIR, 14 regional offices were housed in Bacolod City, Negros Occidental, while 16 others were in Dumaguete City, Negros Oriental.
More than two years later, in August 2017, President Rodrigo Duterte signed the EO that would abolish the NIR, citing lack of funds. The two Negros provinces will revert to their original separate regions.
Personnel of NIR offices have been ordered to return to their previous units or be reassigned to other offices in their respective departments or agencies. The operations of the NIR offices should wind up within 60 days, the order said. (READ: Contractuals will be worst hit by dissolution of Negros Island Region)
What happens to agency targets?
Stephen Leonidas, director of Department of Agrarian Reform in NIR, said Negros Island has the biggest balance of landholdings nationwide under the agrarian reform program, with 89,794 hectares regionwide, which has 71,837 beneficiaries.
They are targeting to distribute 12,392 hectares of land this year, he added.
He said he is proposing to maintain the regional office here as a satellite office for this purpose.
Livino Duran, head of Department of Environment and Natural Resources in NIR, said he is also open to have the DENR regional office in Bacolod to be converted into a satellite office.
He is also seeking to extend the 60-day period given by the President, adding that they still have deliverables and specific “physical targets” that needed to be accomplished by the end of the year.
He said he will present his transition plan Monday, August 14, to the DENR executive committee.
Anthony Nuyda, officer-in-charge of Department of the Interior Local Government (DILG) in NIR, said that since the new region was created in 2015, there had been "faster response to local government units and the plan and programs are more integrated.” – Rappler.com