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PIA Press Release

Region 9 deal: Pagadian as reg'l gov't center; Zamboanga as industrial center

Zamboanga City (February 4) -- To eliminate resistance from Zamboanga City officials for the implementation of Executive Order 429 in favor of Pagadian City, Malacaņang promised to make the former the industrial or trade center in Region IX.

With this arrangement, City Government officials of Pagadian are now more relaxed in addressing issues and concerns for the transfer of regional offices to this city following a calibrated scheme as agreed by the Technical Working Group under the supervision of Secretary Silvestre Bello III, the Presidential Assistant on New Regional Government Centers.

During the 6th Regional Transfer TWG held here last January 15, Pagadian City officials headed by City Mayor Samuel Co have agreed with their counterparts from Zamboanga City officials that every time the TWG meets, discussion on making Zamboanga City an Industrial Center should also be tackled.

With Mayor Co were City Councilors Wilson Co, Arnulfo Garcia, Bienvenido Culve, Arnold Gavenia and SK Federation President Fausto Lingating together with Engr. Leonila Sisona, the Executive Director of the Pagadian Regional Center-Management and Coordinating Office and her staff.

On the other hand, Zamboanga City Mayor Celso Lobregat sent city councilors Juan Climaco Elago, Lynette Abarro, Rudy Lim and Asbi Edding who voiced out their apprehension of possible economic infertility as soon as majority of the regional offices move out to Pagadian, the new regional center.

Elago, in agitation said Zamboanga City would be disadvantaged because of the vacuum left as soon as all the regional offices will be transferred to Pagadian.

Elago added that while discussing the transfer of regional offices to Pagadian, the TWG should also discuss Zamboanga City's 3 main projects which need budget allocation from the national government, such as: 1) new airport; 2) new industrial seaport and 3) circumferential road.

The Zamboanga City solon was hopeful that these projects will offset the economic and social vacuum by the time the over 7,000 regional employees and their dependents are already settled in Pagadian.

NEDA Regional Director Rafael Evangelista presided the said meeting. He told the body that he was commissioned by Assistant Secretary Danny Encenas of the office of Presidential Assistant on New Government Centers.

In that meeting, Regional Directors Julita Ragandang (DAR), Oscar Parawan (DA), Brenda Nazareth (DOST); DENR Regional Technical Director Reynaldo Bayabos and DPWH's Winefreda Constantino were called to give updates on the status of their full transfer to this city.

The bottomline of the matter is that Pagadian people simply "want to push what has been promised that the city will be converted into a business district in the region." (PBB/PIA 9-zc) [top]

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