Reg’l offices for 2 provinces named
The division of the Negros Island Region transitional regional offices was completed yesterday with Negros Occidental getting agriculture and land, peace and order/security and governance clusters, and Negros Oriental getting the human development, industry and labor and infrastructure clusters.
The division was finalized during a NIR Technical Working Group meeting presided over by Department of Interior and Local Government Secretary Mar Roxas at the DILG office in Quezon City attended by delegations from Neg. Occ. led by Gov. Alfredo Marañon Jr. and Neg. Or. led by Gov. Roel Degamo.
Roxas said his target is to have the transitional regional offices of the NIR, also to be known as Region 18, partially operational by October 1 this year and fully operational by January 1 next year.
The regional offices in Negros Occidental will be located in Bacolod City and those of Negros Oriental will be in Dumaguete City.
Roxas told the Negros officials: “You made this happen and the success of the NIR rest in your hands.”
Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa congratulated those present for the creation of the NIR.
The regional offices to be assigned in Negros Occidental under the Agriculture and Land Cluster are the Department of Agrarian Reform, Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Department of Agriculture, and Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board;
Peace and Order/Security Cluster: Department of Justice and its attached agencies (National Bureau of Investigation, Parole and Probation, Prosecutors, etc), Department of National Defense , Office of Civil Defense and the Department of Interior and Local Government (Philippine National Police, Bureau of Fire Protection and Bureau of Jail Management and Penology); and
Governance Cluster: DILG (local governments), Department of Budget and Management, National Economic Development Authority, Department of Finance, Commission on Audit and the Commission of Elections.
The regional offices to be assigned in Negros Oriental under the Human Development Cluster are 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;
Industry and Labor Cluster: Department of Labor and Employment, Department of Trade and Industry, Department of Science and Technology, Department of Foreign Affairs, Department of Tourism and the Securities and Exchange Commission; and the
Infrastructure Cluster: Department of Public Works and Highways, and the Department of Transportation and Communication and its attached agencies – Maritime Industry Authority, Land Transportation Office, National Telecommunications Commission and Land Transportation and Franchising Regulatory Board.
At the TWG meeting, Marañon said “We are thankful to the good secretary (Roxas) for making the Negrenses’ dream a reality. Rest assured that we will work together with Negros Oriental and we will make sure that the Negros Island Region will be a region to reckon with.”
He cited former governors Daniel Lacson and Rafael Coscolluela of Negros Occidental and Emilio Macias and George Arnaiz of Negros Oriental for starting the push for the creation of the NIR.
Degamo said Negros Oriental will cooperate with Negros Occidental because this is “a good sign of our brotherhood.”
Coscolluela, who is part of the Negros Occidental TWG team, said the TWG meeting yesterday with Roxas “went well, with both sides in a very cordial mood. There were no major points of disagreement, just a few more details to resolve within the next few weeks. The directive for agencies to designate acting regional directors will be drafted for issuance by the Office of the President soon,” he said.
The NIR Implementing Rules and Regulations will be finalized by the TWG, he added.
Ma. Lina Sanogal, Negros Occidental Provincial Planning and Development Officer, said Roxas informed them that a “scrap and build policy” will be adopted to create the transitional regional offices.
This means the transitional regional offices will be composed of part of the staff and budget to be taken from Western Visayas national government regional offices where Negros Occidental used to belong, and from Central Visayas where Negros Oriental came from, she said.
Eric Loretizo, executive assistant to Gov. Marañon and a member of the Negros Occidental TWG team, said nominees will be submitted to the President who will decide whom to appoint as head of the NIR Regional Development Council and Regional Peace and Order Council.
Roxas asked the officials of Negros Occidental and Oriental to come to a consensus on the nominees.
The Regional Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council will be headed by the NIR regional director of the Office of Civil Defense.
Frank Carbon, Metro Bacolod Chamber of Commerce and Industry president, said the NIR will boost the economic growth of Negros Occidental and Oriental.
Dr. Romeo Teruel, of the University of St. La Salle and a member of the Negros Occidental TWG team, said he had initial discussions with his counterparts from Silliman University on the TWG. The establishment of a Negros Studies Center is being proposed where research staff from different disciplines will help generate data needed for future NIR projects and programs, he said.
Other members of the Negros Occidental TWG at the meeting yesterday were Rep. Alfredo Abelardo Benitez (Neg. Occ., 3rd District), Kabankalan Mayor Isidro Zayco, Board Member Salvador Escalante, Assistant Provincial Legal Officer Mary Ann Manayon-Lamis, Provincial Budget Officer Percival Salado, Provincial Environment Management Officer Wilfred Ramon Peñalosa, Provincial Consultant on Administration and Finance Roy Balicas and Provincial Information Officer Karen Dinsay.*CPG