THE locations of regional offices under the Negros Island Region (NIR) will be decided by the officials of both Negros Occidental and Negros Oriental based on the priorities of their respective provinces, Interior and Local Government Secretary Manuel Roxas II said.

The two Negros provinces will divide the regional offices on a “50-50” basis, he said.

Roxas, who met with local officials of Negros Occidental in Bacolod City Monday, said he has instructed officials of the two provinces to choose the members of their respective delegations for the technical working group (TWG) meeting on June 15 where they will present their positions on which regional offices will be located in Occidental and Oriental.

“I have informed Governor Marañon that we have so many works to do and that they should come up with a consensus because there are three chairmanships that will be filled up,” Roxas pointed out.

These will be for the Regional Development Council, Regional Peace and Order Council, and Regional Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council.

Roxas said that Governor Alfredo Marañon Jr. will have to resign as chairman of the Regional Development Council (RDC)-6, and that he and Governor Roel Degamo of Negros Oriental will have to decide who will chair the three vital regional councils.

He added that at this point there is no need yet to construct regional offices because of the huge budgetary requirement so the existing provincial offices like that of the Departments of Interior and Local Government, Tourism, and Public Works and Highways will have to be utilized as temporary regional offices.

The operational budget for the NIR will already be included in the 2016 national budget, Roxas said.

‘NIR more manageable’

Meanwhile, former Negros Occidental governor Daniel Lacson Jr. said it would be easy to manage both Negros provinces compared to the previous set-up, having several provinces that are far from each other.

Lacson, who chaired the Regional Development Council (RDC)-6 in 1986, said that during his stint as chairman, they decided to put up a road network connecting the two provinces following their planning for the development Negros Island.

“It was so easy for us to do the project since the two provinces are contiguous to each other,” Lacson said. (with reports from EPN)