Negros Occidental officials push for continued alliance despite abolition of NIR

August 10, 2017 - 7:02 AM
The Negros Occidental capitol in Bacolod City. (PNA FILE PHOTO)

BACOLOD CITY, Philippines — Officials of Negros Occidental have pushed for continued collaboration with their counterparts in Negros Oriental despite the dissolution of the Negros Island Region.

“We will continue to work and collaborate with Negros Oriental,” Governor Alfredo Marañon Jr. said.

At the same time, Marañon said the decision of President Rodrigo Duterte, who scrapped the region through Executive Order No. 38, should be accepted and respected.

EO No. 38, dated August 7, revoked EO No. 183 issued by Duterte’s predecessor Benigno Aquino III I May 2015, which created the NIR.

Duterte’s EO 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.”

Vice Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson proposed the creation of a special body to continue the province’s cooperation with Negros Oriental.

Third district Representative Alfredo Benitez said lawmakers will try to ensure it will not have a negative consequence to Negros. “We, in the Congress, will work on having minimal effect to the island,” he sid.

Former governor Rafael Coscolluela, who now acts as Capitol consultant, said he is “sad and disappointed, but challenged.”

Coscolluela, a member of NIR-Technical Working Group, said that in the meantime, both provinces can explore creating a Negros Development Alliance to keep the island’s initiatives going.