THE two Negros provinces can now integrate development plans after President Benigno S. Aquino III signed Executive Order (EO) 183 creating the Negros Island Region (NIR), a local business leader said.

Frank Carbon, president of Metro Bacolod Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MBCCI), said the integrated development plans especially the economic side will have synergy that will cost less but with greater impact.

“On the marketing side, we can now sell NIR with five to six million population to a bigger market," Carbon said. “NIR will create a stronger backbone for a growing economy.”

Carbon also thanked President Aquino and Interior and Local Government Secretary Manuel Roxas II “for heeding the voice of the Negrenses and for seeing the wisdom of creating the NIR.” In EO 183 issued on May 29, Aquino said there is a need to further accelerate the social and economic development of the cities and municipalities comprising the provinces of Negros Occidental and Negros Oriental and improve the delivery of public services in the said provinces.

Officials of both Negros provinces hailed the fulfillment of a long-time dream to create a one-island region.

“My feeling is beyond description. I am very happy and elated that our long-time dream is realized. We have to thank Secretary Roxas for the big help. If not through his efforts, this could not be realized," said Negros Occidental Governor Alfredo Marañon Jr.

For his part, Negros Oriental Governor Roel Degamo said: “I'm happy about that. The one-island region can only be realized through the two governors. Governor Marañon and I haven't talked yet on the locations of regional offices. We have an agreement. I will be the first to choose the location of the first batch of regional offices, he will choose the second batch.”(TDE/EPN)