PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte will sign an executive order repealing an executive order by the Aquino administration creating the Negros Island Region, Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno said Tuesday.
He said his department excluded any budget for that region in the proposed 2017 budget prepared by the Duterte administration because of constraints.
He said Negros Occidental would again be called Western Visayas (Region VI) and Negros Oriental Central Visayas (Region VII).
“We don’t want to spend P19 billion just for two provinces. In any event in federalism, that [executive order by Aquino] will also eventually be repealed. It’s an expensive exercise,” Diokno said.
He said Negros Occidental Gov. Alfred Marañon Jr. and Negros Oriental Gov. Roel Degamo did not object when told of the coming executive order.
On the recommendation of former Interior Secretary Manuel Roxas II, President Benigno Aquino III promulgated Executive Order 183 on May 29, 2015 placing the two Negros provinces under the same region.
EO 183 said creating a region for the two adjacent provinces was needed “to further accelerate the social and economic development of the cities and municipalities comprising the provinces of Negros Occidental and Negros Oriental and improve the delivery of public services in the aforementioned provinces.”
The islands’ officials had pushed to include the new region in the proposed 2016 budget through amendments, but there was not enough time to go over the budget with all the line agencies. For that year, and also in 2017, the allocation of the two provinces remained with their previous regions.
Diokno said any regional issue, such as the delivery of basic services in the two provinces, could be overridden by technology.