By Dominique Gabriel G. Bañaga
Local elected officials expressed optimism, despite the exclusion of the Negros Island Region (NIR) from the 2018 proposed national budget.
Negros Occidental Vice Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson said the region can survive, unless President Rodrigo Duterte decides to proceed with the pending executive order seeking the dissolution of the region. Meanwhile, Provincial Board Member Salvador Escalante, Jr. discussed the prospects of NIR having to be self-sufficient.
“We just have to paddle our own canoe again,” he stated. “Negrosanons are good at it.”
Despite Bacolod Lone District Rep. Greg Gasataya recently declaring the Negros Bloc already vowed to push for the inclusion of NIR in the 2018 national budget, former Negros Occidental Governor Rafael Coscolluela said it would be a challenge.
He suggested the legislators “create noise and lobby vigorously.”
Earlier this week, Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Undersecretary for Public Safety Jesus Hinlo, Jr. confirmed NIR was again excluded from the national budget.
The House of Representatives is currently conducting hearings, with plans to pass the 2018 national budget to the Senate by August 24./WDJ