The leaders of the Visayas Regional Development Committee (RDCom), composed of the Central, Eastern and Western Visayas regions, yesterday welcomed the Negros Island Region into their circle and vowed to give it their all out support.
The RDCom, chaired by Leyte Gov. Leopoldo Dominico Petilla, chair of the Eastern Visayas Regional Development Council, met at L’Fisher Hotel in Bacolod City, where a resolution was passed calling on the President to include in the unprogrammed fund of the 2016 national budget an allocation for the establishment of the NIR offices.
Also at the meeting were Bohol Gov. Edgar Chatto – Central Visayas RDC chair, Negros Occidental Gov. Alfredo Marañon and Negros Oriental Gov. Roel Degamo of the NIR, and National Economic and Development Authority 6 Regional Director Ro-Ann Bacal – acting Western Visayas RDC chair.
The RDCom also passed resolutions calling on the Department of Budget and Management to hasten the requirements to ensure funding for the NIR operations that are needed by October, asking Congress to ensure funding for the new region, and the President to appoint a transition RDC chair for the NIR.
Petilla said they are happy with the creation of the NIR that will bring more progress, not only to Negros Occidental and Oriental, but to the rest of the Visayas.
“Anything that is good for Negros is good for the entire Visayas,” Petilla said.
The RDCom will ensure that the NIR is not left out of the Visayas Development Plan and the budgeting next year, Petilla said, pointing out that the main focus of their meeting yesterday was on the NIR.
Marañon said he is very thankful for the 100 percent support of the other Visayas regions for the NIR. “They have pledged that there will be more support coming,” he said.
Degamo also thanked the RDCom for fully supporting Region 18 (NIR), and assured the full support of Negros Oriental in the final preparation of the implementing rules and regulations for the new region, hopefully, to be discussed within the month.
Degamo said if before, he appeared to be hard on the creation of the NIR, he was not closed to it, he just needed a feasibility study. He decided to support the NIR because of the feasibility study made by Silliman University that showed promising development for Negros Oriental and Occidental, Degamo said.
Chato said Central Visayas had mixed feelings about the creation of the NIR because it would lose one of its members, Negros Oriental, but added that “looking to the future direction of the whole Negros Island, definitely, we share the view that it is going to be a more progressive island.”
“Our commitment is to continue supporting Negros Island, especially our Negros Oriental brother, in the transition period because we know there will be birth pains along the way. We will continue to provide the needed support in the same way that Regions 6 and 8 will be providing whatever support they can give,” he said.*CPG