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Duterte separates Negros

By: Tara Yap

ILOILO CITY – Despite strong opposition from local leaders, President Rodrigo Duterte formally dissolved Negros Island Region (NIR).

In Executive Order No. 38, Duterte revoked Executive Order No. 183 signed by former President Benigno S. Aquino III.

To recall, NIR was formally created in May 2015 and combined the provinces of Negros Occidental and Negros Oriental into one island-region.

Negros Occidental will again be formally part of Western Visayas (Region 6) while Negros Oriental will again be part of Central Visayas (Region 7).

Duterte’s order came after no budget was proposed for Negros for fiscal year 2018. This fiscal year, no budget was also allocated for Negros.

In the executive order, Duterte said “the establishment of regional offices (ROs) of departments and agencies in NIR requires substantial appropriation to be fully operational, thus, competing with government priority programs and projects for funding.”

During its short-lived existence, only a few government agencies have separate regional offices in Negros.

Last year, key officials jumped to ruling party PDP-Laban in the hopes that Duterte administration will not dissolve NIR.