243 officials sign one-Negros Island region manifesto

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Saturday, June 7, 2014

KABANKALAN CITY – Officials of the two Negros provinces jointly manifested their support for the creation of the Negros Island Region as no opposition was raised during the summit held in this southern Negros city on Friday.

So far, 243 local officials, members of the academe, business sector, and non-government organizations from across the island have signed the manifesto of support.

“We are respectfully requesting President Benigno S. Aquino III to heed our call and create the Negros Island Region through an Executive Order to set up a regional center in a strategic location in Negros Island to be determined by both provinces,” the manifesto stated.


It cited that the 1987 Constitution provides that local government units (LGUs) may group themselves, consolidate or coordinate their efforts, services and resources for purposes commonly beneficial to them in accordance with the law while the Local Government Code defines the province as political and corporate unit of government and serves as a dynamic mechanism for development processes and effective governance of LGUs within its territorial jurisdiction.

“After a series of consultations that started 20 years ago in 1994, we have reached a consensus to revive our plan to integrate our two Negros Provinces into a one-island region in order to speed up the delivery of basic services and promote the equitable distribution of resources, thereby fostering an integrated development and rapid socio-economic growth of the island,” the manifesto further stated.

Negros Occidental Governor Alfredo Marañon Jr. said that after they have gathered the signatures, the manifesto will be submitted to President Aquino.

They are hoping for the realization of the one-island region proposal before Aquino’s term ends in 2016, he added.

“Let’s do it now,” said by the majority of the officials from both provinces who attended the summit on Friday.

A total of 214 people attended the summit, including 150 provincial board members, mayors, vice mayors and other local officials.

In Negros Occidental, 29 out of its 31 LGUs, including Bacolod City, have already passed their resolutions of support.

Both the Provincial Boards of Negros Occidental and Negros Oriental have also approved similar resolutions as well as the League of the Municipalities of the Philippines-Negros Occidental Chapter.

Negros Oriental Governor Roel Degamo, who was represented by Board Member Arnaldo Teves, sent a message that he will support the one-island region move so long as it gets the support of the majority of the people in his province.

Degamo's assurance came on the heels of earlier reports that he has uncertainties on the proposal.

Teves, president of the Association of Barangay Captains of Negros Oriental, said that majority of the barangay officials in their province are supportive of the creation of a new region.

He added that they will gather all the resolutions supporting the move and they have set the deadline for submission this month.

Teves said that at present, Negros Oriental gets only less than 10 percent share in the regional budget for Region 7-Central Visayas. Negros Occidental, which is under Region 6-Western Visayas, receives about 10 percent.

Negros Oriental Vice Governor Edward Mark Macias also assured his fellow officials from Negros Occidental that majority of the local officials in their province are supportive of the move.

“With all the efforts, it seems to be a go, it’s a green light, so we will do our part,” Macias said.

Negros Occidental Vice Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson, Second District Rep. Leo Rafael Cueva, Fourth District Rep. Jeffrey Ferrer, and Abang Lingkod party-list Rep. Joseph Stephen Paduano, who were present during the summit, also expressed their support to the one-island region proposal.

The City Councils of Bacolod and Dumaguete have also passed and submitted their respective resolutions of support.

“With your enthusiasm, we are positive that this dream of ours that started 20 years ago will come true. Thank you, let’s continue praying for the success and betterment of our people,” Marañon said as the summit concluded.

Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on June 07, 2014.

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