NEGROS Occidental Governor Alfredo Marañon Jr. said Monday there are still some sectors in Manila that are not convinced of the existence of the Negros Island Region (NIR).

They want the new region dissolved, he said.

The governor, however, stressed that the NIR was able to exist and thrive even without the budget last year and this year, which was highlighted in the accomplishment reports of the regional line agencies in Negros.

The inputs of the regional directors augmented the report prepared by the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) to “strengthen” the argument for the retention of the NIR.

DILG Undersecretary for Public Safety Jesus Hinlo Jr. said that President Rodrigo Duterte has heard the cries of the DILG, the appeal of the governor, and the mayors to retain NIR as one region.

“If not for the voice of some Negrense leaders, NIR would have been dissolved last November,” he added.

Hinlo said the appeal to the Cabinet members will continue because they have not yet decided on the fate of NIR.

The development is faster and the economy is stronger if Negros Occidental and Negros Oriental will stay as one region, Hinlo said.

He added that the fate of NIR may be tackled in the next Cabinet meeting this March.

DILG Secretary Ismael Sueno, who is pushing for the retention of NIR, had remained optimistic that Duterte and other Cabinet officials will support NIR, as he noted that Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno and National Economic Development Authority Director-General Ernesto Pernia have expressed apprehensions on its existence.

Former president Benigno Aquino III signed the executive order creating NIR, composed of Negros Occidental and Negros Oriental, on May 29, 2015.

It separated Negros Occidental from Western Visayas, and Negros Oriental from Central Visayas.