San Carlos City Mayor Renato Gustilo said on Friday, February 3, that the proposal of Negros Oriental Gov. Roel Degamo to create a third province in Negros Island is a diversionary tactic.
“Put him in a mental hospital,” Gustilo said.
Degamo, in a meeting with Negros Occidental Gov. Eugenio Jose Lacson on Wednesday, said the new region should include four provinces to ensure equal voting at Regional Development Council (RDC) meetings.
The bill pending in Congress calls for the creation of a new region composed of Negros Occidental and Oriental, and Siquijor.
Degamo wants the new region to include four provinces by creating a third one from Vallehermoso in Negros Oriental to Escalante City in Negros Occidental.
Gustilo pointed out that a translink highway has been made to shorten the travel time between San Carlos and Bacolod, and there is no need for a new province.
“Degamo is really wise to divert the attention away from the creation of the NIR,” Gustilo said.
Degamo had opposed the creation of the NIR during the time of former Gov. Alfredo Marañon but eventually was forced to concede, said Gustilo who was referring to the short-lived island region created by virtue of an executive order issued by then President Benigno Aquino III.
Gustilo joked that if he is made the governor of the third province then it will be okay.
“The question is are we ready for that, it takes a lot of study to create a new province,” he said.
Perhaps Degamo is offering Vallermoso for the new province because the people there did not support him for governor, Gustilo said.
His counter proposal is for the new province to be composed of half of Negros Oriental, and San Carlos and Escalante cities on the Occidental side, Gustilo said in jest.
Councilor Richard Jaojoco, former Toboso mayor, said he is in favor of the creation of a third province as it would be advantageous to his town. “We should sit down and look at the pros and cons,” he said.*