President Duterte abolishes Negros Island Region due to lack of funding
The Philippines is back to 17 regions
Aug 9, 2017
In 2015, former president Benigno Aquino III signed an executive order (EO) putting Negros Oriental and Negros Occidental together in a new region, separating them from Region 6 and 7, respectively. It was a “dream come true” for those who were holding local government offices there after four administrations and 21 years of lobbying for it.
However, two years after the creation of Negros Island Region (NIR), President Duterte has decided to abolish it. He signed EO No. 38 last Monday, revoking the establishment of the region and bringing back the provinces to their original administrative divisions.
According to the new EO, funding is essentially the reason why the 18th region in the country was dissolved. “The establishment of regional offices of departments and agencies in the NIR requires [a] substantial appropriation to be fully operational, thus, competing with government priority programs and projects for funding.”
In 60 days, operations in the regional offices of NIR should be completed including “final disposition of functions, positions, personnel, and assets and liabilities.” These offices would either return to their previous units of deployment or get reassigned for other functions.
NIR was already struggling to operate since 2016, though, as Presidential Assistant for the Visayas Michael Diño said in October last year that the creation and operation of NIR weren’t included in the 2016 budget. In the proposed 2017 General Appropriations Act, there wasn’t any allocation for the newest region either. Twenty billion pesos is needed to fully establish the region.
In the EO by the previous administration, this new region was envisioned to “promote efficiency in the government, accelerate social and economic development and improve public services.” But it looks like NIR wasn’t given the chance to do it.
Photos courtesy of Inquirer.net