The clusters of human development, industry and labor, and infrastructure went to Negros Oriental, in the division of the Negros Island Region transitional regional offices, that was agreed on at the first meeting of the NIR Technical Working Group in Manila yesterday.
The human development cluster is composed of the Department of Education, Technical Education and Skills Development Authority, Department of Social Welfare and Development, Department of Health, Commission on Higher Education, Civil Service Commission, Philippine Statistics Authority, and the Professional Regulation Commission.
The industry and labor cluster includes the departments of Labor and Employment, Trade and Industry, Science and Technology, Foreign Affairs, and Tourism, and the Securities and Exchange Commission.
The infrastructure cluster includes the departments of Public Works and Highways, and Transportation and Communication, and attached agencies, like the Maritime Industry Authority, Land transportation Office, National Telecommunications Commission, and the Land Transportation and Franchising Regulatory Board.
Gov. Roel Degamo, who attended the TWG meeting at the Department of Interior and Local Government Office in Quezon City, presided over by DILG Secretary Mar Roxas, said he will make a report to the people of Negros Oriental on what transpired.
Board Member Erwin Macias, who was also at the meeting, posted on Facebook that the NIR is now officially the country’s Region XVIII.
Degamo assured that he and the TWG-Negros Oriental will be promoting the interests and safety nets of his constituents even as both provinces are seen to be making arrangements that will be beneficial to both.
Degamo said he is optimistic of an amiable exchange of proposals and counter-proposals on how the island-region set-up will look like once it takes off.
One concern will be the sharing of revenues, aside from the division of regional offices and its chiefs, and the physical structures that will host it.
Another will be identifying some regional offices to be located in Mabinay, Negros Oriental, which is adjacent to Kabankalan, Negros Occidental, that had earlier donated a large chunk of property to host the regional offices, Degamo added.
Each one’s interest must be protected, while both parties are submitting their individual proposals, he said.
Meanwhile, he reiterated that before the President issued the executive order creating the one-island region, he had already scheduled consultations with various sectors “to hear the voice of the people”.
When he returns next week, he will give feedback to the people of Negros Oriental on the TWG deliberations, he said.
The TWG of each province is allowed not more than 10 members to attend the meeting with the National Economic Development Authority, the Department of Budget and Management, and the DILG.*JFP