THE signing of Executive Order #183 last May 29, 2015, which integrates Negros Occidental and Negros Oriental, didn't cap a long public discussion. Did you hear or read about it before the EO was publicized?

It was an administrative matter that only the president, not Congress, decided. Maybe local government leaders didn't think Cebu would be diminished economically and socially by removing Negros Oriental from Region 7 and Negros Occidental from Region 6 to form Negros Island region.

Not a body part chopped off the premier province in Central Visayas. Cebu is not being dismembered, Sugbo-ak style. Cebu's economy, a Neda official gushed, continues to grow and Negros Island benefits from increased help by the national government. Trade links between Negros and the provinces that remain (Cebu, Bohol and Siquijor) will survive and prosper.

Additional funding for new regional offices to be opened in Negros could affect the central government's spending in Cebu. Even under the old setup, some local leaders have complained about "big-ticket" projects not coming to Cebu.

Still, the administrative plan should have been taken up with the public before it was foisted on Cebu as an accomplished fact. After all, Cebu's "affinity" with Negros Or. lasted decades.

It could be more of a political decision than economic. Presidential wannabe Mar Roxas, who was given credit as its architect, can say, "Of course there's politics; it's the instrument of progress."

A burden

Economists warn of exploiting the creation of a new region for vote-getting without doing the hard work of implementing the blueprint for the new region's growth.

Does its success matter? It does. Any region that fails becomes a burden to the country, increasing migration to neighboring provinces and cities and straining their resources.

(paseares@gmail.com)