Senate okays Negros Island Region bill

Senate okays Negros Island Region bill

/ 05:06 AM March 13, 2024

Senate okays Negros Island Region bill

AUTHORS The authors of the NIR bill in the House of Representatives and Senate. Seated, from left: Rep. Mercedes Alvarez (Neg Occ, 6th District), Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri, Rep. Manuel Sagarbarria (Neg Or, 2nd District), Rep. Jocelyn Limkaichong (Neg Or, 1st District); standing: Rep. Emilio Yulo III (Neg Occ, 5th District), Rep. Greg Gasataya (Bacolod), Sen. Joseph Victor “JV” Ejercito, Rep. Alfredo Marañon III (Neg Occ, 2nd District) and Rep. Gerardo Valmayor (Neg Occ, 1st District) at a meeting in Makati on Monday night, on the eve of the approval of the Senate bill creating the new region. —CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

BACOLOD CITY—The Senate has passed the Negros Island Region (NIR) bill on third and final reading on Tuesday, bringing closer to realization the three-decade bid of Negros Occidental and Negros Oriental to become a single regional entity.

Sen. Joseph Victor “JV” Ejercito said the bill intends to revive the creation of the NIR to compose not just the two Negros province and the independent city of Bacolod but also the island-province of Siquijor.


At present, Negros Occidental belongs to Western Visayas, together with the provinces of Iloilo, Capiz, Aklan, Antique and Guimaras; while Negros Oriental and Siquijor are under Central Visayas, along with Cebu and Bohol provinces.


Senate Bill No. 2507, which was sponsored and coauthored by Ejercito, received 22 affirmative votes and no negative votes and abstentions.

“With the passage of this measure, the Negros Island Region, or ‘NIR,’ is finally one step nearer to reality,” Ejercito said in a statement on Tuesday.

READ: Senate approves Negros Island Region bill

The signature of President Marcos is needed for the NIR bill to become a law.

Strengthen autonomy

“The idea for this bill was first planted three decades ago, with the approval of this chamber today, it will soon bear fruit,” added Ejercito.

Ejercito, whose mother hails from Bacolod City, said the goal is for the proposed six clusters of regional offices to be divided between the two Negros provinces to ensure the effective delivery of services.


As the administrative division of Negros Island has not been conducive to regional development, he said the NIR law will strengthen local autonomy and accelerate the economic, cultural and social development of the region.

“What we have been fighting for for a long time will soon come true. Fast and smooth service is coming to Negros Island. Thank you for fighting the good fight, and keeping the faith,” Ejercito, told the Negros and Siquijor lawmakers who have been pushing for the establishment of the NIR.

“We would like to thank our colleagues for their support. Specifically, I would like to thank our Negrense in chief, Senate President Juan Miguel “Migz” Zubiri, for putting momentum behind this bill. He’s not just a sweet talker, he’s also a consensus-builder,” he added.

In a meeting in Manila in September 2023 with Ejercito, Zubiri and Special Assistant to the President Anton Lagdameo, the current governors of Negros Occidental, Negros Oriental and Siquijor—Eugenio Jose Lacson, Chaco Sagarbarria and Jake Villa—expressed their full support for the bill.

“They cited inefficiency and red-tape as the main reason for seeking a united Negros Island,” Ejercito said.

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In 2015, the NIR was established through Executive Order No. 183 issued by then President Benigno Aquino III. But it was abolished in 2017 by former President Rodrigo Duterte through Executive Order No. 38.

TAGS: island, Negros, Negros island, Negros Island Region

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