Solon files bill to restore Negros Island Region
BACOLOD CITY — A Negros Occidental congressman has filed a bill seeking to restore the Negros Island Region (NIR) nearly five years since it was abolished.
Rep. Alfredo Marañon III of Negros Occidental’s second district formally asked the House of Representatives on Friday, July 1, to bring back the NIR.
House Bill 330, he said, will likely be approved by the House of Representatives since ten Negros Island representatives and others from the Visayas are supporting it.
Rep. Francisco Benitez of Negros Occidental’s third district said he would also file a similar bill which includes Negros Occidental, Negros Oriental, and Siquijor in the new region.
“All of the bills seeking the creation of the NIR will be consolidated at the committee level for deliberation,” Benitez said.
Members of the Visayan bloc in the House of Representatives earlier expressed support for plans to bring back the NIR.
Negros Occidental is currently under Western Visayas while Negros Oriental and Siquijor are under Central Visayas.
Bacolod City Mayor Alfredo Benitez said President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. might issue an executive order reestablishing the NIR ahead of the bill’s passage.
Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri earlier said he would file a counterpart bill in the Senate.
Negros is the fourth largest and third most populous island in the Philippines, with a total land area of 13,309 square kilometers. As of the 2020 census, Negros has a total population of 4,656,945.
The whole island was governed as an administrative region officially named the NIR, which comprised the highly urbanized city of Bacolod and the provinces of Negros Occidental and Negros Oriental from May 29, 2015, to August 9, 2017.
It was created by virtue of Executive Order No. 183 issued by the late President Benigno Aquino III “to further accelerate the social and economic development of the cities and municipalities comprising the provinces of Negros Occidental and Negros Oriental, and improve the delivery of public services in the aforementioned provinces.”
However, on August 9, 2017, former president Rodrigo Duterte signed Executive Order No. 38 dissolving the NIR for “competing with the government priority programs and projects for funding,” as the substantial appropriation is needed to be fully operational.
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