Bacolod: House starts NIR deliberations

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Bacolod City – The proposed creation of Negros Island Region was deliberated recently, via online conferencing, by the House Committee on Local Governments.

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Three NIR related bills, HB 119 authored by Rep. Juliet Marie Ferrer, HB 330 sponsored by Rep. Alfredo Maranon III and HB 1446, jointly sponsored by Reps. Jose Francisco Benitez, Abang Lingkod Partylist Rep. Joseph Stephen Paduano, Gerardo Valmayor, Jr., Mercedes Alvarez, Greg Gasataya, Negros Oriental solons Rep. Jocelyn Sy Limkaichong, Manuel Sagarbarria and Arnulfo β€œArnie” Teves Jr.

The proposed bill of Benitez, HB 1446, calls for the inclusion of Siquijor in the proposed NIR.

Benitez said Technical Working Group, co-chaired by Reps. Mercedes Alvarez and Edu Rama was created to consolidate the bills and to address questions regarding the NIR.

Ferrer, on the other hand, said the provincial government of Negros Occidental and the highly urbanized Bacolod City, will be asked to give their positions on the matter.

The two major issues that have to be discussed by the TWG are inclusion of Siquijor and the mode of determining the location of regional offices.

At the present set up, Negros Occidental belongs to Region 6, while Negros Oriental and Siquijor are affiliated with Region 7.

β€œThe challenge is to transform the economy of Negros Island to ensure that economic growth redounds to the benefit of the people. Here, the close economic coordination of the two Negros provinces is most crucial. Re-unifying the two Negros provinces under one administrative region therefore becomes necessary,” the explanatory note of HB 1446 stated.

It added that β€œin view of its proximity and cultural similarities, the inclusion of Siquijor Province to the proposed Region 6-B is logical and practical.” (Gilbert Bayoran via The Visayan Daily Star, photo courtesy of congress.gov.ph)

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