Negros Oriental representatives joined their Negros Occidental colleagues on Sunday, February 5, in opposing the proposal of Gov. Roel Degamo to create a third province in Negros Island.
Degamo, in a meeting with Negros Occidental Gov. Eugenio Jose Lacson last week, said the planned Negros Island Region (NIR) 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 which was co-authored by all of the representatives of Negros Island.
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.
“It’s stupid,” Rep. Arnolfo “Arnie” Teves Jr. (Neg. Or. 3rd District) said.
Rep. Manuel Sagarbarria (Neg. Occ., 2nd District) said the creation of a third Negros province ”will take years to prepare to make it happen, best is NIR.”
In Negros Occidental Rep. Emilio Yulo III (Neg. Occ., 5th District) said ”Let’s keep the creation of the NIR easy, simple and straightforward”.
Rep. Alfredo Marañon III said he respects the sentiments of Degamo but “the intention of NIR is to give better service to the people, to bring more investment and development, and we will see to it that nobody gets left behind”.
Rep. Francisco Benitez (Neg. Occ., 3rd District) said “It’s a different legislative process to create a new province. It will have to be the subject matter of another bill, which will require the locals involved to advocate. There doesn’t seem to be a clamor for it at the moment? There might be other ways to address Gov. Degamo’s concerns about equity in representation”.
Rep. Juliet Marie Ferrer (Neg. Occ., 4th District) said on Friday, February 3, that she cannot accept the proposal of Degamo to create a third province in Negros Island.*