Business activities to continue amid new Negros region

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TRADE within the provinces in Central Visayas will continue to thrive, even with the removal of Siquijor and Negros Oriental from the region.

“In my opinion, economically (there’s is) no negative impact on Region 7 (Central Visayas) and in fact, hopefully, this will spur economic growth in the Visayas which will be beneficial for all,” said Melanie Ng, area vice president for Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI)-Visayas.

President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. signed into law Republic Act 12000, or An Act Establishing the Negros Island Region (NIR) last Thursday, June 13, 2024. The new law created a new region composed of the Negros Occidental and Negros Oriental, and the province of Siquijor. It separates both Negros Oriental and Siquijor from Central Visayas, and Negros Occidental with Bacolod City from Western Visayas.

“We understand that the creation of NIR aims to solidify the resources in Negros Island and aims to bring government services closer to its constituents,” Ng explained. “In the case of Region 7, we will have to make adjustments in terms of Negros Oriental and Siquijor leaving Central Visayas in terms of the Regional Development Council 7 and government line agencies in Region 7.”

“We look forward to continue working cohesively for the region’s economic growth with our counterparts in the New NIR Region as we are still all under PCCI One Visayas,” she added.

One Visayas is an initiative led by the Regional Development Councils in the Visayas, supported by the chambers of PCCI Visayas that is meant to promote trade and investments in the Visayas Island.

Like Ng, entrepreneur Steven Yu said for the majority of the businesses in Cebu or Bohol, there is no recognizable impact stemming from the creation of the new Negros region.

“The flow of goods and services among the region that is currently ongoing will not be altered or changed. For the private sector in Cebu and Bohol, there is no expected inconvenience or altered ways of doing business,” said Yu.

The business sector, he said, is expecting more economic, infrastructure and social progress for the Cebu-Bohol region with more focused regional government agencies.

For Ma. Elena Arbon, trade chief of Central Visayas, it will be “business as usual for most.”

“There would be an effect on the numbers. But in terms of business activity in the area before and after NIR, most probably, it would be business as usual for most. Business would also go where the opportunities and markets are,” said Arbon.

Mark Ynoc, president of the Mandaue Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said the chamber may still have to conduct an in-depth analysis of the impact of the separation of the two provinces.

“The focus must revolve around identifying the initial economic disruptions as new systems will be put in place and could impact trade among the neighboring islands,” said Ynoc, adding that the split of the two provinces might also affect the region’s competitiveness standing and gross domestic product output.

According to an earlier report, Central Visayas is set to lose an estimated 14 percent of its annual economy with the separation of Negros Oriental and Siquijor from the region.

Philippine Statistics Authority 7 Supervising Statistics specialist Felixberto Sato Jr. said that Negros Oriental and Siquijor contributed P179 billion to the regional Gross Regional Domestic Product in 2022. That year, Central Visayas contributed P1.38 trillion to the national gross domestic product. / KOC

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