The business community yesterday remained optimistic that the Negros Island Region will stay, while Negros Occidental Gov. Alfredo Marañon Jr. refused to comment on statements made by Presidential Assistant for the Visayas Michael Dino on the NIR.
“It looks like NIR will be superseded by federalism. The likelihood of its being abolished is there,” Dino said in a press statement issued Sunday following an interview on the NIR in Cebu Saturday.
The fate of the NIR is still being discussed at the national level, Dino said, adding that, in his conversation with Speaker Alvarez he said there is no budget for NIR in the 2016 and 2017 General Appropriations Act. The fate of the NIR is still being discussed at the national level, Dino added.
“It's not good to speculate at this time. I have yet to hear official word from the national government regarding the matter. What was published might just be an opinion of one official and we respect that. For now, I cannot comment any further,“ Marañon said.
Meanwhile, Frank Carbon, Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry regional governor for Western Visayas and the NIR and chief executive officer of the Metro Bacolod Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said Negros business groups will push for the passage of a resolution calling on the national government to allocate funds for the NIR at the Philippine Business Conference in Metro Manila this week.
The MBCCI and the Negros Oriental Chamber of Commerce and Industry will jointly push for the passage of resolution asking the Department of Budget Management to provide funds for the NIR in the 2017 national budget and if it is too late at least in the 2018 budget, Carbon said.
Business groups from all over the country are gathering for the Philippine Business Conference organized by the PCCI tomorrow and Thursday at the Marriott Hotel in Metro Manila, he said.
“We are still confident the NIR will not be abolished, why tinker with something that ain't broken?” Carbon asked.
The NIR has allowed for the integrated development of Negros Oriental and Occidental, he pointed out.*CPG
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