Regional directors eye P21.6-B fund for NIR next year

THE Negros Island Regional Development Council (NIRDC) has approved an initial annual budget of P12.6 billion for 2017, on top of the P9-billion proposed infrastructure development projects for the newly-created region next year.

The 12.6 billion is intended as budget for the maintenance and operations, capital outlay requirement, and programs and projects of 17 government agencies and four state colleges and universities (SUCs).

It was endorsed by the respective regional directors of the agencies and school presidents during the NIRDC first quarter meeting held in Dumaguete City yesterday.

Agencies that have submitted their budget proposals include the National Economic Development Authority (Neda), Department of the Interior and Local Government, Bureau of Fire Protection, Philippine National Police, Bureau of Jail Management and Penology, Department of Trade and Industry, Department of Agriculture, Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Environment Management Bureau, Department of Public Works and Highways, National Irrigation Authority, Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board, Commission on Higher Education, Department of Health, Technical Education and Skills Development Authority, Department of Science and Technology, and the Population Commission.

The SUCs include Carlos Hilado Memorial State College, Central Philippines State University, Northern Negros School of Science and Technology, and Negros Oriental State University.

NIRDC vice chair Efren Carreon, who heads the Neda Central Visayas and NIR, said the Executive Committee will set another meeting to tackle the budget proposals of other agencies that have yet to submit.

The NIRDC also endorsed the proposals of both Negros Occidental and Negros Oriental for the construction of P9-billion interprovincial roads.

The proposed road networks are under the Coordinating Roads and Infrastructure Investments for Development Project (CR+ID), a partnership which the two Negros provinces entered with the Metro Bacolod and Negros Oriental Chambers of Commerce and Industry, Asia Foundation, and the Australian Agency for International Development or AusAID.

Since the RDC-NIR first convened in December 2015, Carreon said it has already identified its sectoral committee chairpersons followed by the nomination and confirmation of private sector representatives.

It has also conducted two workshops on Visioning, Planning and Investment Programming last February 3 and 16 in Dumaguete City and Bacolod City, respectively, and Vision Formulation Workshop at the Silliman University last March 2.

On Thursday, the organizational meeting for the creation of the NIR Regional El Niño Task Force was also conducted at the Carlos Hilado Memorial State College in Talisay City.

Negros Occidental Governor Alfredo Marañon Jr. presided yesterday’s meeting for the first time after his official appointment as NIRDC chairman came Wednesday.

The RDC-NIR also finalized the region’s vision during the meeting.

The NIR vision states, “By 2040, a globally-competitive diversified economy for a healthy, empowered, and God-centered Negrense in an ecologically-balanced, peaceful and resilient community with a dynamic, responsive, and accountable governance resulting to an enhanced quality of life for all.”

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