Neda exec rejects bid for one-island region

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Thursday, May 8, 2014


THE creation of a one-island region for Negros Occidental and Negros Oriental is not necessary, said Regional Director Ro-Ann Bacal of the National Economic and Development Authority-Western Visayas (Neda-6).

“If there's only Negros Oriental and Negros Occidental it might not be necessary. But I respect the decision of the local officials and that it would be up to the national government to decide on the matter," said Bacal, who was in Bacolod City Wednesday for the investment forum at the Sugarland Hotel.

She said there are factors that need to be considered for the creation of the one-island region.

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"First, is Negros not being served well by the existing set-up? If they are served well, what other things do these local government units (LGUs) seek? Why are they doing this?” he said.

“Second, we have to look at those regions that split. We have to find out if they're better off after or are they struggling. Lastly, we have to look at the cost. When creating a new region, there's a need to create offices of almost all line agencies. The Department of Budget and Management is not into creating plantilla positions," Bacal said.

Bacal added that it will take a while before the new region can fully operate. "If the one-island region happens, there is a 10-year transition phase."

Bacal said it is not necessary to create a one-island region, but rather the national agencies should address the concerns of the provinces.

"Strengthen the presence of programs and ask the agencies directly. The action is in the local government unit,” she said. "The governor can always call them for a meeting and tell them about his plans and ask the agencies for support."

“Let's just wait for the decision of the national leaders,” Bacal said as she noted that she is aware of the action initiated by the Negros leaders to push for the one-island region.

Provincial officials of both Negros provinces are soliciting resolutions of support from the Provincial Board down to the City and Municipal Councils and Barangay Councils before holding a Negros Island Summit in the coming monts.

Apec 2015 hosting

Bacal revealed that Iloilo City is already certain of co-hosting the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) Summit in 2015.

"We are very positive that Bacolod and Iloilo will be included. But there is one indicator to make sure of the hosting and that is if the LGU together with the Department of Foreign Affairs are now scouting for volunteers and they are doing it now in Iloilo," she said.

For Iloilo, they are recruiting 25 volunteers and the deadline is June 15, she said.

“It looks like Iloilo is already certain of hosting. Whenever there is already movement to look for volunteers that means that has the go-signal of the Apec Summit Organizing Committee," Bacal said.

Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on May 08, 2014.

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