• GILBERT P. BAYORAN
Negros Occidental Gov. Eugenio Jose Lacson yesterday aired his support to the call of Negros business leaders for the issuance of an executive order by President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., creating the Negros Island Region which includes Siquijor, ahead of the passage of a law creating it.
The joint statement issued by business leaders in Negros Occidental and Oriental expressed their strong support for the “re-establishment of a separate, stand alone and full-fledged region, which will encompass Negros and Siquijor islands.”
The proposed NIR bill, which was already approved by the House Local Government committee, is now up for deliberations by the committee on Appropriations, prior to its passage for second reading by the House of Representatives.
Bacolod City Mayor Alfredo Abelardo Benitez also pushed for issuance of EO by President Marcos Jr., creating the NIR ahead of the law.
Lacson said it needs another executive order “in the same manner it was done during PNoy’s time.”
In 2015, the late President Benigno Aquino III issued an executive order creating NIR. However, it was dissolved by his successor, Rodrigo Duterte, two years after.
“An executive order from the present administration, I think that will be sufficient enough,” Lacson said, referring to NIR creation.
While Gov. Roel Degamo expressed opposition to the creation of NIR, the three solons of Negros Oriental solons, six congressmen, including Abang Lingkod Rep. Stephen Joseph Paduano and a congresswoman of Negros Occidental, congressman and governor of Siquijor, have however co-authored the NIR bill.
A statement signed by Roberto Montelibano and Frank Carbon, president and executive officer of the Metro Bacolod Chamber of Commerce and Industry, respectively, Edward Du, head of the Negros Oriental Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Edgar Sy – president of the Bacolod Filipino Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Arthur Aguilar, Biopower Group of Companies president and Eduardo Jereza – corporate secretary of the Negros Economic Development Foundation, said “it is time for Negrosanons and Siquijornons to be given their own empowered Regional Development Council, which coupled with the fair implementation of the Mandanas decision, would finally provide our regional elected leaders with the sufficient autonomy to unite, plan and execute projects to benefit our citizens.”
Negros Oriental and Siquijor are both under Region 7, while Negros Occidental belongs to Region 6.*