HINOBAAN Mayor Ernesto Estrao said Wednesday the Municipal Government is still waiting for the approval of the Provincial Board of Negros Occidental of the reclassification of the 283 hectares for the Southern Negros Industrial Estate (SNIE).

“Once it is approved, everything will take off for the realization of the development of Hinobaan to become the gateway of the entire Negros Island,” he said.

The SNIE reclassification proposal has been with the SP for about a month already, Estrao said.

He pointed out that per record of the Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board, the area formerly owned by Insular Lumber Company is 127 hectares and it will be expanded to 283 hectares for SNIE.

The area was already clarified as industrial so it cannot be covered by the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (Carp), he added.

"I am protecting the residents who have been in the area for a long time. They must be compensated and we have to respect their rights,” Estrao said.

He added that aside from being classified as industrial, the area has already been considered as “highly disturbed” or has not been productive for several years.

A group called Save Hinobaan Movement has been insisting that the area has been covered by Carp and in fact, several occupants had already been awarded with certificates of land ownership award.