Top Negrense execs upbeat on prospects of new region

Marchel P. Espina
Top Negrense execs upbeat on prospects of new region
'Here comes booming Bacolod and Negros Region. Better late than never,' says Bacolod Mayor Monico Puentevella

BACOLOD CITY, Philippines – Top officials of the two Negros provinces are upbeat about the prospects of the newly-created Negros Island Region.

Negros Occidental Alfredo Marañon Jr said he’s “very happy, very glad, and very privileged” that President Benigno Aquino III heeded to the call of the Negrenses and approved the creation of the new region through Executive Order 183.

Marañon also thanked Interior Secretary Manuel Roxas II for endorsing the proposal to the President.

Negros Oriental Governor Roel Degamo expressed hope that the inputs of his province was included in the final draft of the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) on the new region, submitted to the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG)

“Governor Marañon and I haven’t talked yet on the locations of regional offices. We have an agreement that I will be the first to choose the location of the first batch of regional offices, he will choose the second batch,” he said.

Negros Occidental Vice Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson said that he expects “challenges” following the creation of the new region, while Negros Oriental Vice Governor Edward Mark Macias thanked the proponents of the initiative, which was 20 years in the making.

“We’re always on the losing end when it comes to the budget. After that, there was awareness from the people,” Macias said, recalling the process of raising awareness on the need for the new region.

He said EO 183 is the first step in the right direction.


Bacolod Representative Evelio Leornadia said that that the much-awaited creation of the Negros Island Region is expected to draw more investments.

For Bacolod Mayor Monico Puentevella, this is a time to celebrate. “Here comes booming Bacolod and Negros Region. Better late than never.”

EO 183 separates Negros Occidental from Western Visayas or Region 6, and Negros Oriental from Central Visayas, or Region 7.

The Negros Island Region concept was introduced 20 years ago by then Negros Occidental Governor Rafael Coscolluela and Negros Oriental Governor George Arnaiz, who is now a congressman.

The National Economic and Development Authority was initially reluctant to endorse the creation of new regional offices because of budget constraints. Officials from the two Negros provinces had pushed for the new region due to the disparity of budget allocation in their respective regions.

On the last week of May, the two Negros governors submitted the draft  IRR of the Negros Island Region to the DILG. The DILG had created a technical working committee to work on the draft before it was submitted to the president for his signature.

With creation of the new region, Negrenses don’t have to travel by sea to Iloilo City (for Negros Occidental) or Cebu City (for Negros Oriental) when they need to conduct transactions at the regional centers.

The one-island region proponents are looking at Kabankalan City in Negros Occidental and Mabinay, in Negros Oriental as possible sites for the new regional buildings. –

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