MANILA–Presi-dent Rodrigo Duterte has signed an executive order (EO) abolishing the Negros Island Region (NIR) that was created during the term of his predecessor, former President Benigno Aquino III.
EO No. 38, which was signed by the President on August 7, repealed Aqui-no’s EO No. 183 which the latter signed in 2015.
In abolishing the NIR, Duterte stressed that there is a need to ensure that priority government prog-rams and projects are sufficiently funded.
“The establishment of regional offices of depart-ments and agencies in the NIR requires substantial appropriation to be fully operational, thus compe-ting with government prio-rity programs and projects funding,” Duterte said.
As provided by EO 38, which takes effect upon publication in a newspaper of general publication, the provinces of Negros Occi-dental and Negros Oriental shall revert to Region VI and Region VII respec-tively.
All regional offices and regional councils estab-lished under EO 183 are likewise abolished.
All affected personnel are ordered to return to their previous units of deployment or reassigned to other offices within their respective departments or agencies.
Furthermore, the win-ding up of operations of the NIR regional offices, inclu-ding the final disposition of their functions, positions, personnel, assets and liabi-lities, shall be done imme-diately and completed not later than 60 days from the effectivity of the EO.
All orders, proclama-tions, rules, regulations and issuances, or parts thereof, inconsistent with the provision of EO 38 are likewise repealed, amended or modified accordingly.
On May 29, 2015, Aquino signed EO 183 that separated Negros Occi-dental from Region 6 (Western Visayas) and Negros Oriental from Re-gion 7 (Central Visayas).
The creation of one region for Negros was supported by then Interior Secretary Manuel “Mar” Roxas II.
Roxas said the creation of the NIR would hasten the development of the two Negros provinces.
But last December, Budget Secretary Benja-min Diokno said the appropriation for the NIR has not been included in the 2016 and proposed 2017 national budgets.
The 2016 General Ap-propriations Act (GAA) was the last national budget signed by Aquino.
In an ambush inter-view in Malacañang, Diokno told reporters that the NIR would cost the government at least P19 billion, and called it an “expensive exercise” for two provinces. PNA