Negros Oriental Gov. Roel Degamo debunked media reports yesterday quoting him as having said “yes” to the proposed Negros Island Region, or NIR, at a meeting with Gov. Alfredo Marañon Jr. of Negros Occidental at the Dumaguete City Capitol.
Degamo said he never said “yes” to Marañon and that his original stand of being “open” to the idea remains as it is, with his prior conditions still to be considered. In an interview with reporters in Dumaguete, he said he has not yet agreed to fully support the NIR as there are concerns that need to be threshed out.
What he said in the meeting with Marañon was that he was thankful the latter personally came over to invite him to Bacolod City today during the visit of President Benigno Aquino III.
Marañon flew to Dumaguete City to invite Degamo, a move that the latter described as “giving importance” to him.
They initially discussed salient points for the one island region, such as equitable sharing of regional offices, a 60-40 sharing of revenues and the like.
Whoever spread that information of him saying “yes” was just “excited”, Degamo said in interviews on air. He did not elaborate on whom he referred to as “excited”.
A regional paper based in Bacolod City ran its Wednesday issue with the headline “Degamo says yes to NIR, guv elated” and quoted Gov. Marañon as the source of the news story, while other broadcast reports in Dumaguete also reported along the same lines.
A text message from Edward Du, who heads the Negros Oriental Chamber of Commerce and Industry Tuesday evening, also quoted Marañon as saying Degamo has already “agreed” the Negros Island Region.
Du, however, declined to make a statement in behalf of NOCCI until Degamo gave an official announcement.
Degamo’s statements yesterday drew conflicting reactions from pro and anti NIR, over the radio, or on Facebook.
Some expressed disappointment or surprise, while another questioned the difference between a “yes” and a “final yes”. Some described the “yes” as with having conditions, while a judge posted “Better abolish regionalism policy provision and stick to LGU empowerment. That’s real autonomy”.
Another comment on Facebook said it was “idealistic sharing”, referring to the proposal of a 60-40 sharing of revenues, in favor of Negros Occidental having the larger land area than Negros Oriental.
Earlier, Secretary Mar Roxas of the Department of Interior and Local Government had announced his endorsement of the Negros Island Region to the President, and said he hopes an executive order will be issued for its creation.*JFP