Department of Education Secretary Leonor Briones said that she is expecting a strong debate in the Cabinet when it comes to the fate of the Negros Island Region (NIR), or the newly created Region 18. Briones, who was in Bacolod City last Saturday for the graduation rites of Project Free Paglaum, explained that looking for additional P19 billion for the budget of the NIR is no simple task and she understood why the Secretary of the Department of Budget and Management was not agreeable to put up the new region.
However, for the Department of Education – Negros Island Region, they were lucky to establish their regional office in Dumaguete City through the efforts of Regional director Gilbert Sadsad who traveled to the islands of Cebu, Negros and Panay just to facilitate and process the budget.
Briones also added that DepEd will continue with the Regional Office 18 because the executive order that created the NIR has not been repealed and continues to be in force. It can be recalled that Negros Occidental was separated from Region 6 and Negros Oriental from Region 7 and the two joined together to form one region under Executive Order No. 183 signed by then President Benigno Aquino last May 29, 2015. Two months ago, there had been reports that an executive order repealing the one creating the NIR is on the table of the president for signing. She said that the secretary of the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) is also leaning towards supporting the NIR.
Furthermore, she has observed that the president does not decide alone on matters concerning national policies. That’s why she is expecting a strong debate in the cabinet.