One-island region for Negros provinces revived
Local officials of two provinces on Negros island are reviving moves to create a one-island region to hasten growth and step up their thrust on organic food production.
Negros Oriental Representatives Pryde Henry Teves and George Arnaiz met with Negros Occidental Gov. Alfredo Marañon Jr. and Rep. Alfredo Marañon 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, he said.
But he added 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 their proposal due to the costs it would entail to the national government since government offices would have to be set up in the new region.
“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.
“On our side (in Negros Oriental), 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 Cental Visayas, with regional offices in Cebu.
Both provinces are also working together, through the Negros Island Sustainable Agricultural Development Foundation, to promote organic farming. /INQUIRER
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