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Lacson agrees to swapping NIR regional offices

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• GILBERT P. BAYORAN

Negros Occidental Gov. Eugenio Jose Lacson yesterday approved the request of Negros Oriental to be the site for the regional offices of the Department of Budget and Management and the Commission on Elections.

In return, Lacson said that Negros Occidental will get the regional offices of Departments of Social Welfare and Development, as well as Health.

While he did not ask their reasons for the swapping of regional offices, Lacson said “I immediately said yes to their request.”

He added that health officials in the province were elated that the regional DOH office will be in Negros Occidental.

During a meeting between Lacson, Negros Oriental Gov. Manuel “Chaco” Sagarbarria, and Siquijor Gov. Jake Vincent Villa, which was also attended by Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri and Senator JV Ejercito, among others, the three provinces agreed to adopt the previous NIR set up in terms of regional offices.

While it appears that there is a delay in the realization of NIR, Lacson said “we just have to remain positive,” stressing that it has a big chance to be approved because of the agreement of the concerned provinces.

We remain hopeful, he added.

After it was approved by the House of Representatives, the NIR bill is now pending for deliberations at the Senate committee on Local Government chaired by Senator Ejercito.

Admitting that there could be hesitancy on the part of the finance sector of the government, particularly the Department of Budget, Lacson said “if the government can invest in BARMM (Bangsamoro Autonomous Region for Muslim Mindanao), putting a lot of money, I think they can also do the same for Negros Island Region”.*

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