Bacolod: NIR creation violates 1987 Constitution – Dumaguete bishop

photo courtesy of The Visayan Daily Star

Bacolod City – The Diocese of Dumaguete, which issued an appeal to President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. to veto Senate Bill 2507 that seeks to create Negros Island Region (NIR), alleges that it violates the 1987 Constitution.

The President earlier announced that he will sign the NIR bill into law.

In a letter dated March 25, signed by the Dumaguete Bishop Julito Cortes and other church officials, the diocese appealed to the President to veto the bill for the NIR creation, citing the lack of information dissemination and the absence of public consultation with diverse sectors and stakeholders.

In his second letter dated April 29 addressed again to President Marcos Jr., Bishop Cortes said that the issues implicated by the creation of NIR has two layers, which involves constitutional issues, as well as economic and other non-constitutional issues.

The constitutional issues are threshold issues which must be overcome before even considering the second-layer issues, disclosed Cortes.

The Dumaguete bishop said that NIR violates Section 10, Article X of the 1987 Constitution, which states “No province, city, municipality, or barangay maybe created, divided, merged, abolished, or its boundary substantially altered, except in accordance with the criteria established in the local government code, and subject to approval by majority of the votes cast in a plebiscite in the political units directly affected.”

The proposed NIR will be composed of Negros Occidental, Negros Oriental, and the island province of Siquijor.

Assuming for the sake of argument that the NIR is constitutional, the NIR idea should be rejected for being ill-conceived, due to lack of feasibility study, for being unnecessary, Cortes said.

He further claimed that there was no notice of invitation to participate in congressional or Senate hearing regarding NIR creation, which also violates the elements of due process.

Due to formidable constitutional and non-constitutional concerns, and the lack of feasibility studies on the necessity and viability of removing Negros Oriental and Siquijor, as well as Negros Occidental from their respective regions, and putting them in one region of different languages, cultural, traditions and histories, we recommend to Your Excellency to veto the NIR, and return it to Congress for further study, consistent with the requirements of the Constitution, Bishop Cortez said. (Gilbert Bayoran via The Visayan Daily Star)

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