There is no word war between Negros Oriental Gov. Roel Degamo and Negros Occidental Gov. Alfredo Marañon Jr., over the proposal for a one island region, the former clarified.
Degamo said he was merely reacting to the statements of Marañon, reported in print and broadcast media in Bacolod, particularly one that says, “in the end, it will be the President, not Degamo who will decide whether the island region should be created or not”.
He said he considered that statement sweeping and presumptuous, and no less a grave insult to the office he is representing as governor of Negros Oriental.
In his letter to President Benigno Aquino III dated January 6, 2015, Degamo expressed consternation and indignation to the statement of Marañon, and demanded that the latter issue a formal apology…for such blatant official arrogance and utter disregard of the sentiments of the people in Negros Oriental, if only to prevent animosity and keep the mutual respect between his office and that of the governor of Negros Occidental.
Marañon, however, said he was merely stating a fact, and would not respond to Degamo’s demand for an apology.
Observers claimed that with this development, there can be no unity to speak of when animosities are in the air.
Degamo reiterated the need for a credible feasibility study to be conducted by independent entities, that will consider all important aspects, if only to convince Negrenses in Oriental to choose the right path in what he described as fundamental change that will definitely affect the future of the province.
He added that aside from the lack of feasibility study, Region 7 where Negros Oriental belongs was created by law, and amendments will have to be made first before detaching the province from the composition of Central Visayas.
He said the province is very happy being part of Region 7, with Negros Oriental placing No. 2 in tourist destinations last year, and with Dumaguete and Negros Oriental having been declared as Top 4 best retirement places in the world.
ENCOUNTER WITH POPE
Meanwhile, Degamo and his wife, Janice, will fly to Manila today for a chance to see and meet Pope Francis at the Luneta Park late this week.
Degamo said the opportunity to see and meet the Pope is a blessing and an honor, as he seeks guidance to be able to continuously lead the province to the right path, and to deliver the needs of Negrenses, especially the poor.
Negros Oriental DepEd division superintendent of schools, Salustiano Jimenez, said no Catholic would like to miss the opportunity of seeing and meeting the Pope. He added that several teachers in his division applied for leave of absence to go to Manila to welcome Francis.*JG