House OKs bill creating Negros Island Region on final reading
The House of Representatives on Monday unanimously approved on third and final reading a bill establishing the Negros Island Region (NIR).
The measure numbered House Bill 7355, which gathered 290 yes votes, groups the cities, municipalities and barangays located in the 10 provinces of Negros Oriental, Negros Occidental, and Siquijor, including Bacolod City, into Negros Island Region.
Likewise, the measure provides for a Technical Working Group (TWG) in establishing the new region which will include representatives from the Office of the President, the Department of Budget and Management, the Department of the Interior and Local Government, the representatives of the Office of the Governor of the provinces of Negros Oriental, Negros Occidental and Siquijor, and all the elected District Representatives of the said provinces, including the Representative of Bacolod City.
“The TWG shall formulate strategic plans to put in place the institutional arrangements for the NIR; recommend to the Office of the President the preferred location of theRegional Center; arrange the requirements for the organizational development, staffing, and budgeting mof regional line and regulatory agencies, as well as the imperatives for development planning and investment programming,” the bill added.
At present, Negros Occidental province and its capital Bacolod City are under Western Visayas or Region 6, while Negros Oriental and Siquijor provinces are part of Central Visayas or Region 7.
The authors of the consolidated bill include Negros Occidental Reps. Juliet Marie de Leon Ferrer, Alfredo Marañon, Gerardo Valmayor, Jr.. Emilio Bernardino Yulo, Mercedes Alvarez and Jose Francisco Benitez; Greg Gasataya of Bacolod city and Joseph Stephen Paduano of ABANG LINGKOD party-list.
The late President Benigno Aquino III issued Executive Order 183 creating Negros Island region in May 29, 2015, separating Negros Occidental from Western Visayas, and Negros Oriental from Central Visayas.
His successor and former President Rodrigo Duterte, however, abolished the region by issuing Executive Order 38 on August 7, 2017 “to ensure that priority government programs and projects are sufficiently funded.” — Llanesca T. Panti/RSJ, GMA Integrated News