BY GILBERT P. BAYORAN
Negros Occidental 5th district Rep. Emilio “Dino” Yulo III yesterday said he is optimistic on the passage of the proposed Negros Island Region by the House of Representatives next year.
“There is no problem with the House of Representatives, as the Senate is also supportive of the new region creation”, Yulo, who also co-authored the NIR bill, that includes Siqujor, said.
He also noted that the creation of NIR was also a political campaign promise of some elected senators and congressmen.
Negros Oriental Gov. Roel Degamo earlier expressed his opposition to NIR creation, citing “cultural and language differences.” However, the three Negros Oriental solons, including Rep. Jocelyn Sy Limkaichong (1st District), Manuel Sagarbarria (2nd District), and Arnulfo “Arnie” Teves Jr. (3rd District) are supporting the NIR creation.
“We should not consider it as an opposition, as of this time. We might want to be clarified to what he had stated in the media, on the pros and cons,” Yulo said.
It’s time for us, the proponents, to reach out to Degamo, to address his concerns, he added.
Negros Occidental Gov. Eugenio Jose Lacson yesterday bared his plans to meet Degamo in Dumaguete City to discuss the proposed NIR creation, which he will scheduled beyond the holidays.
The planned visit will be part of his efforts “to reach out to Degamo,” Lacson said.
He pointed out 80 percent of the mayors in the two provinces of Negros “are supportive of the NIR’s re-establishment.”
All 10 Negros Island solons, including Abang Lingkod Rep. Stephen Joseph Paduano, have co-authored NIR bills which are now being consolidated by the Technical Working Group of the House Committee on Local Government, into a substitution bill, before presenting to the plenary.
As for the proposals of creating sub-regions, as recommended by the National Economic Development Authority and the Department of Budget and Management, Yulo asked “what is the difference of having sub-regions? Why don’t you go to the one created by law, in order to have permanency? Otherwise, we rebirth to the same arrangement before, which was the issuance of an EO (executive order).”
If it is just for the immediate establishment of regional offices, the solon however said “if they want to do it now, so much the better. But it will not stop Congress from going on with the passage of NIR,” Yulo stressed.
Bacolod City Mayor Alfredo Abelardo Benitez also sent a letter to the House committee on Local Government endorsing the NIR creation.
After the TWG creates the NIR substitution bill, following consolidation of all bills filed by Negros solons, Yulo said it will be presented to the plenary for discussion, approval for 2nd and 3rd reading, and to the bicameral committee, for consolidation with Senate bills.
The NIR was established in 2015 through an Executive Order issued by then President Benigno Aquino III. However, it was dissolved two years later by his successor, former President Rodrigo Duterte, citing the high costs of maintaining the region, as recommended by the DBM.*