By Dominique Gabriel G. Bañaga
During a visit with Negros Occidental Governor Alfredo Marañon, Jr., Abang Lingkod Party-list Rep. Stephen Paduano said there is still hope for the Negros Island Region (NIR) under federalism, which is being pushed by the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte.
Paduano noted, during a prior meeting with House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, the Davao del Norte congressman expressed his surprise the president signed Executive Order No. 38, which abolished NIR. However, the party-list representative said Alvarez is planning to move the seat of government to Negros Occidental, calling it “the heart of the country.”
Paduano believes the move can restore Negros as one federal state.
He added, as a condition for Negros to become a federal state, Siquijor and Guimaras must also be included.
When asked about why the order was signed, Paduano said Duterte was fine in maintaining the status quo, but said “an unforeseen event” prompted the president to sign it.
“I cannot divulge the details yet, but something happened that angered the president,” Paduano said.
Meanwhile, the congressman also discussed local politics with the governor, saying there needs to be unity in order to protect the interests of the island.
Although, he said, unity is not as much a problem for Negros Occidental as it is for Negros Oriental./WDJ