BY GILBERT P. BAYORAN
Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri and Senator Juan Victor Ejercito yesterday assured Negrenses that the proposed Negros Island Region has a good chance to be approved in the Senate.
Ejercito, chair of the Senate Local Government committee, disclosed that his committee will start hearings next week on the proposed NIR, which is also co-authored by several members of the Senate.
Zubiri said the proposed NIR is among his 10 priority bills for passage in the Senate.
Negros Occidental 2nd district Rep. Alfredo Maranon III, Gov. Eugenio Jose Lacson and Vice Gov. Jeffrey Ferrer are also pushing for the creation of one island Negros region, while Negros Occidental 3rd district Rep. Jose Francisco Benitez wants to include Siquijor in the new region.
Zubiri and Ejercito said that they will do their best to approve it in the committee level by the first quarter of next year.
I will prioritize it, since my mother, who is a Negrense, will be angry with me, Ejercito jokingly said.
Both Zubiri and Ejercito have roots in the cities of Kabankalan and Silay, respectively.
Negros Occidental 6th district Rep. Mercedes Alvarez earlier said that she will study the proposal of Department of Budget and Management, and the National Economic Development Authority to create sub-regions for Regions 6 and 7.
As proposed by DBM and NEDA, Negros Occidental will compose Region 6A, while Negros Oriental and Siquijor will belong to Region 7A.
But Alvarez said the proposal has yet to be brought up with the Technical Working Group that she chairs.
The TWG was tasked by the House committee on Local Government to consolidate the proposed NIR bills.
Marañon earlier disclosed that the TWG is still discussing the consolidated NIR bills, which he initially called as the Siquijor, Negros Region (SNR).*