Negros execs revive plan for single island region

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BACOLOD CITY—Local officials of two provinces on Negros Island are reviving moves to create a one-island region to hasten growth and promote organic food production.

Negros Oriental Representatives Pryde Henry Teves and George Arnaiz met with Negros Occidental Gov. Alfredo Maranon Jr. and Rep. Alfredo Maranon III and former Gov. Rafael Coscolluela on Tuesday to discuss the creation of a one-island region.

Coscolluela said he would rally Negrenses from both provinces to support the move.

The one-island region proposal was raised by then Negros Occidental Gov. Daniel Lacson and Negros Oriental Gov. Emilio Macias during the administration of President Fidel Ramos, said Coscolluela.

But he said it did not take off because of resentment from the Oriental side.

Coscolluela said Ramos had said the National Economic and Development Authority was reluctant to endorse the proposal due to the costs it would entail to set up new regional offices. “So it died a natural death,” Coscolluela said.

Teves said resistance from the Oriental side was probably because people there failed to see the advantages of a one-island region then.

“But now, with numerous roads connecting Oriental and Occidental, you can see the advantages in terms of trade and education,” he said.

Teves said aside from both provinces having products that complement each other, the one-island region would be self sustaining since both provinces have a vast source of geothermal power.

“We are very motivated to do it. As Governor Maranon said: Why is one island reporting to two different regions?” said Teves.

Negros Occidental is part of Western Visayas with regional offices on Panay Island while Negros Oriental belongs to Central Visayas with regional offices in Cebu.

Both provinces are also working together, through the Negros Island Sustainable Agricultural Development Foundation, to promote organic farming.

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