Negros Island Region holds first council meet; no chairman elected
BACOLOD CITY, Philippines – The development council of newly-created Negros Island Region held its first meeting on Friday, December 4, at the Provincial Capitol Social Hall here, but members did not nominate a chairman.
Negros Occidental Governor Alfredo Marañon Jr believed that “it’s too late” to elect the head of the regional council a few months before the 2016 elections, when localities will be electing a new set of officials.
Nominations for chairman could be done after the May 2016 elections, he said. He noted that there’s only one quarterly meeting in March before the election, then the next meeting will be in June, after the polls.
Marañon noted that some of the elected officials now who are part of the council could lose in 2016. The Negros Occidental governor is among the few who are running unopposed next year.
The Negros Island Development Council (NIDC) is temporarily chaired by Efren Carreon, interim regional director of National Economic and Development Authority.
Marañon said that he is not interested in becoming the chairman of the chair even if he would be appointed by the president because it entails a lot of work.
Before the creation of new region, Marañon chaired the Regional Development Council in Western Visayas, or Region VI. He relinquished his post after Negros Occidental was separated from the old region.
He said he wants to focus on the transition to the new region, adding that everybody has to work together to solve the “birth pains and challenges” of the new region.
Negros Oriental Governor Roel Degamo is still pushing for an equal representation from the two provinces in the Negros Island Development Council. “There’s a need for protection because every project that will be endorsed to the national government will be coursed through the RDC. There must be an equal power between the two provinces,” Degamo said.
Degamo had pointed out that there are 13 cities in Negros Occidental while there are only 6 in Negros Oriental. He suggested earlier that mayors' votes from each province be counted as one, representing a bloc, while private sector representatives are expected to tilt the vote any which way.
Marañon said that Degamo's suggestion would be “hard” to implement because “there is a law and you cannot prevent the mayors not to vote. They will complain.”
At present, the NIDC has 61 members, composed of the governors, mayors, president of the Provincial League of Mayors, regional directors of line agencies, and private sector representatives.
During the meeting, the members approved the NIDC manual of operations, which include the organizational structure, creation of 4 sectoral committees, schedule of quarterly meetings in 2016, and the annual investment program for 2017.
The NIDC meeting was attended by mayors of Negros Occidental and Negros Oriental, and regional directors of line agencies. – Rappler.com