Iloilo gov against Negros Region bid
Marchel P. Espina (The Freeman) - November 16, 2014 - 12:00am

BACOLOD CITY, Philippines  — "We don't want Negros Occidental to leave Region 6," Iloilo Governor Arthur Defensor Sr. said when pressed on his stand about the proposal to unite the two Negros provinces-Occidental and Oriental-as one region.

Defensor said he is sad if the regionalization will push through because "Negros Occidental and Iloilo have one language and that we've been living and working together for centuries already."

Negros Occidental presently belongs to Region 6 (Western Visayas), which regional offices are in Iloilo while Negros Oriental is part of Region 7 (Central Visayas), with regional offices in Cebu.

Defensor said he is hoping the Occidental people will stay with Region 6, but he clarified he will not convince Negros Occidental Governor Alfredo Marañon Jr. to change his mind, "I will leave it to the people," he added.

The Iloilo governor emphasized that his opposition to the One-Negros Island Region bid is more on "sentiment" rather than the budget allocation.

"If Negros Occidental leaves Region 6, only the budget of regional offices will be affected and not of Iloilo province," said Defensor. "We (Region 6) will not be affected. It's just, it is sad that Negros Occidental would want to join with Negros Oriental as new region."

Defensor noted that problems may arise should the One-Negros Island Region bid will materialize. "I doubt if the Occidental people would want to put up all the regional offices in Dumaguete City (in Negros Oriental), and the same with the Oriental people. I don't think they would want to travel to Bacolod City (to conduct business at the regional offices). It would be easier for the Occidental people to go to Iloilo instead of to Dumaguete."

Marañon had been pushing for the realization of the proposal, while his counterpart, Negros Oriental Roel Degamo, had been very vocal of his opposition,

On Marañon's proposal to build the Negros-Panay bridge, however, Defensor was amenable. "Let's just build a bridge to connect Iloilo, Guimaras and Negros Occidental since this will enhance our economic growth and development," he said.

Defensor believed that the bridge project is feasible, "I believe later on, we will get rich and that we can afford its construction."

Marañon, as chair of the Regional Development Council-6, vowed to push the Negros-Panay Bridge, although he admitted that its feasibility study will take years to complete.  (FREEMAN)

BACOLOD CITY CENTRAL VISAYAS ILOILO NEGROS NEGROS OCCIDENTAL NEGROS ORIENTAL OCCIDENTAL ONE-NEGROS ISLAND REGION REGION
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