Bacolod City – Presidential sister and Senator Imee Marcos does not appear to be keen on supporting the passage of proposed Negros Island Region in the Senate, as of this time.
Marcos, who joined with Vice President and Education Secretary Sara Duterte and Senator Francis Tolentino at the Teacher’s Day celebration dubbed “Gurovaganza 2023” at the Panaad Sports Complex in Bacolod City, recalled that there were arguments before that it was not economically feasible, as it entails more expenses.
“If you gonna set up a new area, it should be economically viable,” the senator said, noting that all government agencies offices are there.
During his recent visit to Negros Occidental, Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri pledged to shepherd the passage of the NIR bill in the Senate by December this year, after it was unanimously approved by the House of Representatives.
Chaired by Senator JV Ejercito, who traces his roots from his mother’s side to Negros Occidental, the Senate committee on Local Government is currently deliberating the NIR bill, co-authored by him and Zubiri, as well as three other senators, in the Upper Chamber.
Marcos recalled that she heard arguments long ago that then Gov. Alfredo Marañon III had been endorsing NIR, while the late Negros Oriental Gov. Roel Degamo expressed his views that Negros Oriental much relied on Cebu side and does not want to be cut off from them.
But she admitted of being not aware of new arguments on the revival of NIR, and the present financial arguments.
“It always ends up being an economic effort,” Marcos said.
Her worry, the senator added, that if you have smaller provinces like Capiz, Antique, Aklan, then you chopped off Negros Oriental and Negros Oriental, “magulo (messy).”
“I think we have to listen, before making decisions”, Marcos added.
Zubiri earlier acknowledged that the Department of Budget of Management is not keen on the creation of more regions and departments.
“As far as I’m concerned, I’ve committed it to the people of Negros, I will pass it in the Senate,” he added.
The proposed NIR will cover Negros Occidental, which belongs to Western Visayas, and Negros Oriental and Siquijor which are under Central Visayas.
Governors Eugenio Jose Lacson of Negros Occidental and Manuel Sagarbarria of Negros Oriental have expressed support for the creation of the NIR, which is co-authored by all Negros Island solons and Abang Lingkod Rep. Stephen Joseph Paduano in the Lower House. (Gilbert Bayoran via The Visayan Daily Star (TVDS), photo courtesy of TVDS)