TALISAY CITY -- Negros Occidental Governor Alfredo Marañon Jr. said he hopes the province will get an equitable income share once it rejoins Western Visayas or Region 6.
He said that Negros Occidental has a share of 42 percent of the budget, but it is only getting 13 percent.
“Pag divide sang pie didto sa Region 6, 13 percent lang kadto sa aton (When they divide the pie in Region 6, only 13 percent goes to us),” the governor said after the transition meeting Friday at the Nature’s Village Resort here.
Negrense officials had pushed for the creation of Negros Island Region (NIR) due to the disparity in the budget that their provinces get in their previous regions.
Earlier, Raul Anlocotan, assistant director of National Economic Development Authority-Western Visayas, assured Negrenses that there will be equitable income sharing among the provinces in the region.
He also noted that Negros Occidental got a good share of the budget even before.
Moreover, Marañon said the NIR dissolution will not affect the delivery of basic services, programs, and projects of the provincial government though, he noted there might be some areas that couldn’t be reach by development.
But it’s manageable, he added.
The governor also urged Negrenses to move forward.
“I believe that the good Lord does things in his own mysterious way. Maybe He has greater things (in store) for us,” he said.
He said that he will also meet with the officials in Negros Oriental led by Governor Roel Degamo to thank them.
Marañon said he will also talk to the Negros Oriental officials to continue their coordination and cooperation even with the dissolution of NIR as they could work together in areas like tourism and disaster management.
He added that one of the advantages of being under the NIR is the maintenance of peace and order.
“There’s one command, there’s easier cooperation and better coordination,” the governor said.
With the looming shift to federal form of government, he said he is hoping that the two Negros provinces will belong to the same state.
Marañon said the dissolution of NIR is not a setback for the Negrenses as the two provinces continue to function although he noted the effect to the regional offices that had already established their operations in Negros.
Last week, President Rodrigo Duterte signed Executive Order (EO) 38 abolishing NIR due to lack of funds.
With the dissolution of NIR, the two Negros provinces, along with the NIR regional offices, will be reverted to their previous regions.
The reversion process of the soon to be defunct NIR has already started.
However, some of the regional directors aired their concerns during the transition meeting.
Some of them said their agencies have programs and projects that are set to be implemented until the end of the year. These have also corresponding budgets.
Others are pushing to retain the NIR regional offices as satellite offices.
However, they said that the programs and projects for Negros Island will continue as delivery of basic services won’t be disrupted.
Anthony Nuyda, concurrent head of Department of the Interior Local Government (DILG) in NIR and Western Visayas, asked the regional directors to submit next week their reports, including the affected personnel, funding, property, programs, projects, and issues confronting the reversion and their recommendations.
He said his office will come up with a transition plan which will include all issues of the agencies. The report will be submitted during their meeting with DILG Undersecretary Austere Panadero on August 29.
Nuyda, who presided the transition meeting, said that most of the concern of the regional directors are the displacement of contractual workers in their respective agencies, however, there is a recommendation to continue their contracts until December as the budgets have already been allocated.
“If they will be retained, it’s either they will be transferred to the provincial offices in Negros Occidental or Negros Oriental, or they will maintain a satellite office until end of the year,” he said.
Nuyda said the DILG, which was directed by Duterte to supervise the transition process during the 60-day winding up of operations that will end on October, can’t interfere with the protocol, procedures, and policies of the other agencies.
He said the DILG will only bring the issues to their respective national offices and that the final decision will depend on the Secretary of the concerned agencies.