Local Government Secretary Ismael Sueno yesterday said he has asked Malacañang to hold off approval of a draft executive order abolishing the Negros Island Region, while a strong presentation on why it should be retained is being prepared.
Sueno told the DAILY STAR he believes the majority of the Cabinet members now support the NIR retention, including National Economic and Development Authority head Ernesto Pernia, who previously sided with Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno in the push for President Rodrigo Duterte to sign a draft executive order abolishing the NIR.
In fact the NEDA and other departments are helping ready the presentation for the retention of the NIR before the Cabinet, he added.
Sueno also informed Negros Occidental Gov. Alfredo Marañon Jr., in a meeting at the DILG office in Metro Manila, that Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez will support the retention of the NIR, Local Government Undersecretary Jesus Hinlo said.
The NIR, composed of Negros Occidental and Oriental, was created by virtue of Executive Order No. 183 issued by then PresidentBenigno Aquino III on May 29, 2015.
Sueno, Marañon, Hinlo, DILG Undersecretary Austere Panadero, Presidential Spokesman Sec. Ernesto Abella, and Budget and Management Undersecretary Laura Pascua met on the NIR yesterday.
Marañon presented to us the reasons why the NIR should be retained, Sueno said.
Members of the Cabinet Participatory Governance Cluster are asking for more information to make the bid to retain the NIR stronger when presented at a full Cabinet meeting, Sueno said.
So, Sueno said,he has asked Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea to hold off the signing of the draft executive order to abolish the NIR until such presentation is made.
Sueno said he will formally ask that action on the draft EO be held off at a Cabinet meeting Monday,until a presentation on why the NIR should be retained is made at another Cabinet meeting expected at the end of January or early February.
Marañonand Sueno agreed that the NIR can operate on the 2017 budget with funds coming from Regions 6 and 7, Hinlo said.
The Participatory Governance Cluster ledby Sueno will be asking for a Cabinet extension of time so it can highlight the economic gains of the NIR to justify its retention, he added.
Marañon yesterday also met with Technical Education and Skills Development Authority Secretary Guiling Mamondiong, who supports the retention of the NIR.
Mamondiongappointed Marañon as an adviser of the Mayor Rodrigo RoaDuterte National Executive Coordinating Committee, which he accepted, Hinlo said.*CPG
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