Gov. Roel Degamo said he received a letter from Department of Budget and Management Secretary Ben Diokno last week, which stated that the composition of the Negros Island Region is on a status quo basis.
As such, the budgets will come from Region 7 for Negros Oriental and Region 6 for Negros Occidental.
The letter was in reference to the snowballing appeal for the retention of the NIR, coming from Degamo and Gov. Alfredo Marañon Jr. of Negros Occidental, other provincial and local officials, leaders of civil society organizations, and business groups, among others.
The appeal assured President Rodrigo Duterte that the NIR operation will not incur additional costs to the national government and that regional offices will be able to effectively function within their budgets.
It also said that NIR will level the playing field in developing the Visayas regions and accelerating the transformation as a showcase of socio-economic progress, thereby encouraging reverse migration and decongesting Metro Manila.
Diokno stressed that while the national government has acknowledged such presentation, forming the NIR administrative region at this time may not be timely in the pursuit of the federal government being advocated by Duterte, even as such will require a huge budget for it to be fully operational. Thus, it will compete with the funding requirements of the government’s priority programs and projects.
Degamo said that as per Diokno’s letter, the matter on whether or not to retain the NIR still rests with Duterte.*JG