Bacolod: Siquijor residents ‘deeply disturbed’ by impending NIR

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photo courtesy of The Visayan Daily Star

Bacolod City – Opposition to the imminent signing of the Negros Island Region (NIR) bill by President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. is snowballing, as a group of Siquijor residents, calling themselves Tingog Siquijodnon, also share the sentiments of the Diocese of Dumaguete in Negros Oriental.

Dumaguete Bishop Julito Cortes led the call for President Marcos Jr. to veto the NIR, which is proposed to be composed of the provinces of Negros Occidental, Negros Oriental, and Siquijor.

In a letter to President Marcos Jr., Tingog Siquijodnon said that they were “deeply disturbed” by the impending creation of the new region, stressing that “Siquijor is a mere afterthought in the NIR creation.”

When NIR was first conceived in 2015, only the two Negros provinces were considered in the plan. In the revival of this proposal, the Senate, through Senator Win Gatchalian’s sponsorship, again only considered the two provinces. It will be noted that in both instances, the people of the affected provinces were not consulted, they said.

Indeed, it came as a surprise to us Siquijodnons, when in this latest iteration, Siquijor was all of a sudden included in NIR, again, without consultation. The name of the region only suggests the two Negros provinces. For obvious reasons, they added, Siquijor was never considered to be included, except as an afterthought, the group said.

Siqujior and Negros Oriental are both under Region 7, while Negros Occidental belongs to Region 6.

Tingog Siquijodnon also claims that the proposed law is manifestly void and unconstitutional, stressing also that the creation of NIR requires a plebiscite.

As concerned citizens, our desire is for the rule of law to prevail, and for the Constitution to be respected and obeyed, not disregarded, or ignored when it is convenient, they pointed out.

On the other hand, the Negros Oriental Chamber of Commerce and Industry Inc. (NOCCII) has reiterated its call for President Marcos Jr. to sign the creation of NIR into law, as they debunked claims that its creation would violate the 1987 Constitution and requires the conduct of plebiscite.

Under the 1987 Constitution, plebiscite is required only for autonomous regions like the Bangsamoro autonomous region in Muslim Mindanao and Cordillera Autonomous Region, NOCCII president Edward Du said. (Gilbert Bayoran via The Visayan Daily Star)

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