Negros Oriental Gov. Roel Degamo wants the proposed Negros Island Region to include four provinces to ensure equal voting at Regional Development Council meetings.
Negros Occidental Gov. Eugenio Jose Lacson met with Degamo in Dumaguete City on Wednesday morning, February 1, to discuss the proposed creation of the NIR, which will include the two Negros provinces and Siquijor.
Degamo had earlier aired his opposition to the creation of the new region.
All of the representatives of Negros Occidental, Oriental and Siquijor have co-authored a bill in Congress seeking the creation of the new region.
Degamo at their meeting Wednesday “put on the table, the idea of creating the new region with four provinces. The fourth of which is a new province from Negros Occidental”, Lacson said.
Degamo wants three Negros provinces for what he terms as “equal footing”, Lacson said.
“We agreed to continue talking,” Lacson said.
A third Negros province could be created from Vallehermoso in Negros Oriental to Escalante in Negros Occidental, Degamo said at a joint press conference with Lacson after their meeting.
A third Negros province along with Siquijor would assure equal voting in the new region’s Regional Development Council, Degamo said.
He noted that at present Negros Occidental has six representatives and 11 cities, against Negros Oriental’s three representatives and six cities.
Degamo said it is okay now because he and Lacson are friends, but a third province would protect Negros Oriental in the future.
As long as a third Negros province is created he will have no problem with the creation of the new region that will include Siquijor, he said.
“Definitely Siquijor should be included, it is part of Negros Oriental,” he said.
Lacson said it would be very good for Negros Occidental and Oriental to both belong to one region.
Both provinces share the same boundaries and problems from peace and order to the economy, Lacson said.
“Rest assured that if it does happen Negros Occidental will always be fair to all the provinces under that new region,” he added.
“The difference in language should be the least of our problems,” Lacson said.
The governor said he had been in public service for 24 years in San Carlos City where residents speak Cebuano and he speaks Ilonggo but they understood him.
“We will continue to cooperate with Negros Oriental under one region,” Lacson said.*