Negros pushed as ‘federal state’
Gilbert P. Bayoran (The Freeman) - August 17, 2017 - 4:00pm

BACOLOD  CITY, Philippines — Following the abolition of  Negros Island Region, Representative Rafael Leo Cueva (Negros Occidental, 2nd district) is pushing for Negros as a federal state, in line with the move of President Rodrigo Duterte to shift to a federal form of government.

"We are requesting that Negros Island be appointed as one federal state, or at least assign the whole island to one federal state, and not divide it again into two separate parts," said Cueva in his privilege speech Monday at the House of Representatives.

President Duterte, in Executive Order 38 dated August 7 abolishing the NIR, directed the DILG to supervise the reversion of Negros Occidental and Negros Oriental to Regions 6 (Western Visayas) and 7 (Central Visayas), respectively.

"Despite the sad, forced ending to an otherwise happy and perfect union, we are glad to have shown NIR as a good model for federalism, as an empowered region trying to determine the course of its development as it contributes to the achievement of the national goals," Cueva said.

The business sector in Negros also issued a petition calling for the creation of  Negros Island Special Area for Development that aims to pick up where the NIR left off, by coordinating and integrating efforts to address the common concerns of both Negros provinces.

The integration earned the support of Negros Occidental Governor Alfredo Marañon Jr. and Negros Oriental Governor Roel Degamo.

Cueva stressed that the people of Negros island will respect the president's decision and abide by the executive order.

Contrary to what some people make it appear, he said the creation of the NIR was not a political move, as the dream for a "One Island, One Region" had been nurtured by the Negrenses for about 25 years already, starting in the 1980s.

"NIR was a realization of the dream of millions of  Negrenses of uniting the twin Negros provinces, in order to pursue an integrated, island-wide development planning and accelerate socio-economic progress," he added. (FREEMAN)

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