By Dominique Gabriel G. Bañaga
Local elected officials expressed their disappointment after President Rodrigo Duterte yesterday signed Executive Order No. 83, which dissolves the Negros Island Region (NIR).
Negros Occidental Governor Alfredo Marañon, Jr. said residents of Negros Occidental and Negros Oriental have longed for their own region; while Negros Occidental third district Rep. Alfredo Benitez called it a “sad day” for Negros.
Meanwhile, Negros Occidental Vice Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson said the region had never been a priority for the president since he assumed office, but said both Negros provinces can still work together by creating a special body to promote continued cooperation.
Benitez also noted, the Negros Bloc in the House of Representatives is committed to minimizing the negative effects of the region’s dissolution.
Bacolod City Lone District Rep. Greg Gasataya, a member of the said coalition, said he remains positive for Negros.
With the signing of the order, regional councils and offices will be returned to their previous designations.
Earlier this week, when asked about the possible exclusion of NIR from the 2018 national budget, the governor remarked, “If it is not included in the 2018 budget, then the funds for Negros Occidental will be taken from Region 6, while that of Negros Oriental will be sourced from Region 7.”
NIR was originally created following an executive order signed by former President Benigno S. Aquino III./WDJ