To spur social and economic development of the Negros Island, Secretary of the Interior and Local Government Mar Roxas assured the Negrenses faster decision-making and avoidance of ‘disjointed’ planning in the newly created Negros Island Region (NIR) during a caucus in Dumaguete City on June 10, 2015.
“By having your own region you don’t have to cross to Cebu to coordinate with RDC; to coordinate with RPOC; to coordinate with Disaster Risk Reduction. By having it here sa Negros, mas mabilis ang decision-making. Mas alam ninyo ang pangangailangan so mas magiging sure at mas magiging tugma ang mga desisyon,” Roxas said in an interview.
On May 29, Executive Order No. 183 was signed by President Benigno S. Aquino III, which enjoins Negros Occidental and Negros Oriental creating the NIR.
Under the NIR, the island of Negros will have its own Regional Development Council (RDC), Regional Peace and Order Council (RPOC), and Disaster Risk Reduction Management (DRRM), which will focus on the development and stability of the island. The provinces of Negros Occidental and Negros Oriental will also decide the strategic placement and cluster of government offices, which will guarantee everyone with better access to government services.
Negros Oriental Gov. Roel Degamo on his part said that the establishment of the NIR is a clear manifestation that the Aquino administration listens to its people, and it prioritizes the projects that are beneficial to the Filipinos.
“Beyond the words, in this document are the hope and dreams and future of each and every single one of you, your kababayans here in Negros, and it is right that we must approach this in a careful deliberate matter,” Roxas said as he turned-over a copy of E.O. 183 to Gov. Degamo during the meeting.
Records from the National Economic and Development Authority shows that Negros Oriental had a 50.9% poverty rate, the highest compared to the other provinces in Region 7.
Roxas recognized this high poverty rate as a result of the lack of public investments for tourism, power, and transport of goods from farms to markets in Negros Oriental.
“If we are blind about our situation, we cannot find our way out,” Roxas stressed.