EditorialNegros Del Norte?

Negros Del Norte?

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They didn’t see it coming.

Negros Occidental officials were surprised by a proposal from Gov. Roel Degamo to cut Negros Occidental into two provinces before he agrees to the creation of the Negros Island Region.

In a meeting last week with Negros Occidental Gov. Bong Lacson in Dumaguete, Degamo explained that his proposal will “level the playing field” and give Negros Oriental a fairer representation before the Regional Development Council under the proposed NIR.

In Degamo’s thinking, Negros Oriental would always be outvoted by Negros Occidental whenever an issue is up for deliberation in the RDC.

After all, Negros Occidental has seven districts compared to Negros Oriental’s three. Cebu, which is part of Region 7 where Negros Oriental belongs, also has seven districts.

Also, Negros Oriental has only six cities compared to Negros Occidental’s 11.

Actually, what the Negros Oriental Governor is proposing is not a new idea. There was the short-lived Negros del Norte province which was created back in 1986.

Negros del Norte was established under Batas Pambansa Blg. 885 which provided for the creation of the new province comprising the cities of Cadiz (the capital), San Carlos, and Silay, and the municipalities of Calatrava, Enrique B. Magalona (Saravia), Escalante, Manapla, Sagay, Salvador Benedicto, Toboso, and Victorias.

However, Negros del Norte was abolished later the same year after the law establishing it was nullified by the Supreme Court of the Philippines.

To create a province, it has to have an average annual income of not less than P200 million for the last two consecutive years; and either of the following: A population of not less than 250,000 inhabitants, or a contiguous territory of at least 2,000 square kilometers.

Did the former Negros del Norte fit this qualification?

It might deserve some looking into, even as that could mean major political realignments in Negros Occidental.

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