• GILBERT P. BAYORAN
Negros Occidental 5th district Rep, Emilio “Dino” Yulo III wants the creation of Negros Island Region completed before the proposed creation of 3rd province in the island, while 4th district Rep. Juliet Ferrer dismissed the creation of another province as “unnecessary and divisive.”
While he is not opposed to the idea of Negros Oriental Governor Roel Degamo to create a third province in Negros island, Yulo said “the focus should be on reestablishing the NIR first before any talks could be made for a possible third province to be created in Negros.”
Yulo pointed that creating a new province must undergo a legislative process under the Local Government Code, as well as complying with the mandatory requirements on land, income and population.
The idea of Degamo, who opposes the creation of Negros Island Region, a move supported by all three Negros Oriental solons, cropped up during their recent meeting with Negros Occidental Gov. Eugenio Jose Lacson.
“The most important matter at the moment is to make things easy,” Yulo said, stressing that the creation of a new province is a highly complicated process.
Ferrer, who authored House Bill 119, the mother bill of the NIR consolidated and substitute bills, said that the rationale for the NIR bill “is to make the regional government offices more accessible and thus, make it more convenient for the constituents of the NIR.”
There was no intention to outnumber the representatives of Negros Oriental in the Regional Development Council. If this was the case, the Negros Oriental representatives would not support the bill. On the contrary, they do not just support it, they are also co-authors,” the lady solon from 4th district of Negros Occidental, said.
Ferrer also pointed out that the creation of a third province in Negros Island requires a lengthy legislative process and eventually a plebiscite, which is costly.
Noting that the people of Negros Occidental have been living harmoniously despite the different dialects, Ferrer further said “so, there is no reason to make a division based on their dialects now.”
She also pointed out that the legislative power is “vested in the Congress of the Philippines.”
“The creation of laws including the creation of NIR is constitutionally vested in Congress. In this case, all the representatives of concerned provinces, Negros Occidental, Negros Oriental and Siquijor, support the NIR Bill,” Ferrer further stressed.
The collective wisdom of Congress should be respected being the representatives of the people and the legislative authority is recognized by the fundamental law of the land, she said.
“For these reasons, I cannot accept the proposal to create another province in order to make the provinces on equal footing as a hindrance or a pre-requisite to the passage of the NIR bill,” Ferrer said.
Ultimately, it is Congress who has the legislative authority to pass the said bill, she further said.*