Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on email

NIR passage vowed by December

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on email


As a Christmas present to the two provinces of Negros Island and Siquijor, Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri has pledged to see through the passage of the Negros Island Region (NIR) bill in the Senate by December this year.

Last month, the House of Representatives approved the NIR bill, which is co-authored by all Negros solons, and those of Siquijor.

Zubiri, who inspected the ongoing construction of the Bacolod Museum and General Hospital in the city, which has allocated funds of about P750 million, said he is hoping that the NIR bill will be passed on second reading at the end of September.

“At the very latest, it would be passed into law before Christmas. Our Christmas gift to the region, as long as it will not be vetoed,” Zubiri said.

Senator Juan Victor Ejercito, chairperson of the Senate committee on Local Government, is scheduled to hold another committee hearing to tackle the NIR bill, which he also co-authored in the Senate.

Zubiri admitted that the Department of Budget and Management does not want creation of new regions and department, although President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. wants the creation of the Department of Water.

However, he said he will discuss it with the President.

As far as he is concerned, Zubiri said he is committed to the people of Negros its passage in the Senate.

While former Negros Oriental Gov. Roel Degamo, who was assassinated on March this year, opposed the creation of NIR, Zubiri disclosed that incumbent Negros Oriental Gov. Manuel “Chaco” Sagarbarria is 100 percent supportive to the establishment of the new region.

Under the proposed measure, NIR shall be composed of the cities, municipalities and barangays in Negros Occidental, Negros Oriental, and Siquijor. At present, Negros Oriental and Siquijor are under Region 7, while Negros Occidental belongs to Region 6.

On May 29, 2015, the NIR was created through Executive Order 183, which was signed by then President Benigno Aquino III. However, it was later dissolved also by former President Rodrigo Duterte, through another executive order, as he stressed the need to ensure that priority government programs and projects are sufficiently funded.

Under the administration of President Marcos Jr, the creation of NIR is among his priority measures for passage by Congress.

As to reported opposition on NIR creation, Zubiri challenged those who are opposing it to give him good arguments, as he will also present counter arguments in its favor.

“I will defend the criticisms for NIR,” the Senate president said, as he also stressed that it was the dream of Negrosanons from the beginning, even before the Marcos Jr. administration.

The establishment of regional centers will be divided once NIR be approved, Zubiri said.*


Read Article by date

September 2023

Get your copy of the Visayan Daily Star everyday!

Avail of the FREE 30-day trial.