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Negros Island Region bill hurdles Senate 2nd reading

The Senate on Wednesday approved on second reading a proposed measure seeking to create the Negros Island Region (NIR).

Under Senate Bill (SB) 2507, the proposed NIR will include the provinces of Negros Occidental including Bacolod City, Negros Oriental, and Siquijor.

The bill seeks to improve the delivery of basic government services in Negros Island through the establishment of regional government offices and promote decentralization to strengthen local autonomy.

Also under SB 2507, a technical working group (TWG) will formulate a roadmap for the institutional arrangements of the NIR, arrange the organizational development requirements for development planning and investment programming, and map out the provision of public services in the proposed region.

The TWG will be composed of representatives from the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), the Department of Budget and Management (DBM), the Office of the Governor of the provinces, and elected members of the House of Representatives of the provinces.

The DILG shall serve as its secretariat.

Last March, the Lower House unanimously approved on third and final reading House Bill 7355 establishing the NIR.

In 2017, then-president Rodrigo Duterte issued Executive Order 38, formally dissolving the two-year-old region created under the Aquino administration. — Sundy Locus/ VDV, GMA Integrated News