• GILBERT P. BAYORAN
Stressing that Negros has a special place in her heart, Senator Imee Marcos has vowed to work on “what is good for Negros.”
Marcos made the declaration to clarify news reports that she is “not keen” on the move to revive the Negros Island Region proposal.
In a statement, the senator, who is also the sister of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., said “I never said I was not keen on NIR. Rather, I said it requires further, updated study because no new data has been presented to the Senate yet, despite moves to revive interest on the creation of the NIR.”
She further clarified that she is very much aware of the issues confronting the NIR passage then, because both Negros province governors – the late Alfredo Marañon and Roel Degamo had presented the matter to her, when they were together in the League of Governors.
The late Governor Degamo raised the issue of economics because Negros Occidental was less reliant on the region they belong compared to Negros Oriental, which had to rely much on Cebu to spur their local economy, Marcos added.
That was the reason, according to Marcos, why she is asking for updated data on such concerns because “we need to convince the economic managers that putting NIR back on the map is actually viable considering the circumstances at the moment.”
I understand though that both leaders of the two Negros provinces now are agreeable to pursue NIR and have come to terms on how to go about this, then whatever is the will of the people of Negros Island, I will personally support, Marcos stressed.
At the end of the day, we are servants of the people and we will work on what the people want and what works for them best, she added.
During her recent visit to Negros Occidental, Marcos, said while she has does not have a position yet on the NIR proposal, she stressed that its creation should be “economically viable.”
Negros Occidental Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson yesterday insisted that the creation of NIR “should not be based on its cost.”
If that’s the basis, we will never have a chance, he stressed.
Lacson also cited the creation of Bangsamoro Autonomous Region (BARMM), which he described cost “a lot of money also.”
The proposed establishment of NIR includes the island province of Siquijor.
The Senate committee on Local Government chaired by Senator Juan Victor Ejercito is currently deliberating the proposal after it was unanimously approved by the House of Representatives.
I am hoping that with the help of those who committed to help, especially with the senators, we finally see the light of having NIR, Lacson said.
And I thank Senator Imee for her clarification, the governor further said.
Lacson also said he is optimistic that the creation of new region in Visayas will be pushed within the administration of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.
Lacson, however, said “it should happen not later than June 2024, otherwise, election 2025 will be the focus.”*