Bacolod City – The proposed creation of Negros Island Region has finally moving in the Senate.
Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri and six other senators have coauthored Senate Bill No. 2507, or Negros Island Region Act, which was raised on December 6 at the Senate plenary.
Zubiri was joined by Senate President Pro Tempore Loren Legarda, Majority Leader Joel Villanueva, Senators Joseph Victor Ejercito, Ramon Bong Revilla Jr, and Manuel Lito Lapid.
Zubiri disclosed that reestablishing Negros Island Region (NIR) would bring government closer to the people, noting that the present set up of Negros is complicated.
Residents of Negros Occidental have to travel to Iloilo to apply for their identification cards, certificates or permits, while those from Negros Oriental have to go to Cebu for the same purpose.
The House of Representatives already gave its approval to the creation of NIR, via unanimous votes among its members.
Under the bill, NIR shall be composed of Negros Occidental, Negros Oriental, and Siquijor.
Ejercito also backed the statement of Zubiri, stressing that it will benefit Negrenses and Siquijornons for decades to come, when it is enacted.
Our goal is for the six clusters of regional offices to be divided between the two halves of the island, to ensure the effective delivery of services, said Ejercito, who chairs the Senate Local Government committee.
He further stressed that the three governors of Negros Occidental and Oriental, as well as Siquijor have already expressed their full support for the NIR during their recent meeting with Senate president Zubiri.
Ejercito further said that the three governors cited inefficiency and red tape as the main reason for seeking a united Negros Island.
NIR, which was created during the presidency of the late Benigno Aquino III through an executive order, was later abolished by his successor, Rodrigo Duterte. (Gilbert Bayoran via The Visayan Daily Star (TVDS), photo courtesy of TVDS)