PROPOSED ONE-ISLAND REGION. Negros Oriental Governor Roel Degamo (left) and Negros Occidental Governor Eugenio Lacson discuss the proposed one-island region during a closed-door meeting in Dumaguete City on Wednesday (Feb. 1, 2023). Degamo said he opposes the idea for a number of reasons, but Lacson is hoping this would change once certain concerns are addressed. (Photo courtesy of Capitol PIO)

DUMAGUETE CITY – Negros Occidental Governor Eugenio Lacson on Wednesday said he respects the position of Negros Oriental Governor Roel Degamo who is opposing the proposed creation of a one-island region.

The two governors met in private at a hotel in this capital to discuss various issues confronting the two provinces, including the creation of the Negros Island Region (NIR).

Degamo raised during the meeting that a fourth province be placed under the NIR, which, he explained, would level the playing field in terms of representation at the Regional Development Council.

The 4th province that Degamo proposed will comprise Vallehermoso town in Negros Oriental, and San Carlos City and Escalante in Negros Occidental.

At present, the proposal is to include in the NIR a third province, which is Siquijor.

Degamo has repeatedly pointed out that the creation of NIR will put Negros Oriental at a disadvantage as it would only have three districts compared to Negros Occidental which would have seven.

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

This would also mean there will be no equal share in resources and income, apart from language barriers, Degamo added.

Lacson, for his part, said he understood where Degamo was coming from and that he respects the latter’s decision.

He was hopeful though that once these concerns have been ironed out, “perhaps he might reverse his decision.”

“We also came up with some possibilities that may somehow convince him”, Lacson said.
“What is important is that we will continue to keep our lines open and this will not be the last time that we will sit down and talk and maybe next time, I will be in a better position to answer the issues he has raised”, he added. (PNA)