3-YEAR STRATEGIC DEVELOPMENT PLAN (2010-2013) FOR NEGROS OCCIDENTAL
The Provincial Government under Gov. Alfredo G. Maranon, Jr. and Vice Gov. Genaro M. Alvarez, Jr. will be implementing NEGROS FIRST! as the strategic development plan for the province of Negros Occidental in the next three years, starting 2010.
NEGROS FIRST! seeks to optimize the potentials of Negros Occidental as an agricultural province to ensure food sufficiency and agricultural productivity as well as generate livelihood especially for the poor and marginalized.
Negros Occidental has a land area of 792,607 hectares or 7,900 square kilometers with a length of 375 km from north to south. Out of the total land area, 68.17 percent (540,350.13 ha) is classified as alienable and disposable, 31.65 percent (250,845.87 ha) is classified forest land, and 0.18 percent (1,411 ha) is unclassified public land.
A first class province in terms of income, Negros Occidental’s economy is mainly agricultural, with 98 percent of its alienable and disposable land used for agriculture (531,016.99 ha) and 2 percent for inland fishery/fish pond (9,333.14 ha).
Notwithstanding its potential for higher growth and poverty reduction, however, agriculture in the province, as it is in the country, continues to under-perform. Agriculture has the potential for higher growth through crop diversification to dynamic high value products with export potential and higher income growth, such as tropical fruits as well as vegetables.
Fishery is another major source of income for Negros Occidental. With 13 cities, including Bacolod, and 19 municipalities located along the coast, a great portion of the population depends on fishing for their livelihood. Production and supply of most fish and marine resources are noted to increase each year.
The livestock and poultry sectors also generate substantial sources of income, with opportunities to fill up the demand in the export market considering that Negros Occidental remains free from exotic animal diseases.
The province has six major rivers (Danao, Himogaan, Malogo, Bago, Binalbagan, and Ilog) that could be tapped for irrigation, watershed development, reforestation, power and agro-industrial initiatives.
As of October 2007, Negros Occidental has a total population of almost 2.9 million (including its capital, Bacolod City at close to 0.5 million) which is 42 percent of the population in Western Visayas. It is ranked as the 6th most populous province in the Philippines. Its growth rate of 1.44 percent for 2000-2007 is lower than that of Bacolod City, pegged at 2.12.
Development has been correlated with the attainment of the total human potential; it is the sustained capacity to achieve a better life – one that is longer and of higher quality, and that allows freedom of choice. This is the ultimate end of government, to develop its people’s total human potential by meeting their needs now, but without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. In short, government must follow the principles of sustainable development, and this will be our guide as we endeavor to implement the following strategies to develop Negros Occidental.
For the foregoing development strategies, we will always apply the overriding principles of equity and sustainability to ensure that future generations will enjoy the fruits of the earth that we enjoy today. This will be our legacy to our beloved people of Negros Occidental: in whatever we do, we will always put their best interest at heart. This is our battle cry: NEGROS FIRST!