By Dominique Gabriel G. Bañaga
During a federalism forum, which took place on Friday at the Bacolod Pavillon, University of Sto. Tomas-Department of Political Science chair, Professor Dennis Coronacion, presented a document confirming the Negros Island Region (NIR) is included as the tenth state in the bill pushing for the transition to a federal form of government.
According to Presidential Legislative Liaison Office (PLLO) Assistant Secretary Romulo Arugay, the said bill will be deliberated before the House of Representatives in “due time.”
“It’s another story in the Senate,” he explained. “They have a different version of [the bill], compared to the House of Representatives.”
The PLLO official added there is also the possibility of opposition to the re-establishment of NIR, noting major economic factors must still be considered.
Arugay pointed out, the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte has already projected the country will be under a federal form of government by 2019.
Meanwhile, Bacolod City Mayor Evelio Leonardia, who delivered the welcome address for the event, expressed optimism for the bill, adding the dissolution of NIR is not yet final.
He also pointed out, with the applause in response to the NIR’s inclusion as a potential state, that kind of enthusiasm can snowball and influence others in supporting the region’s re-establishment.
Earlier this month, Duterte signed Executive Order No.38, effectively dissolving the NIR. The dissolution stemmed from the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) quoting the region’s cost to the government at P19 billion./WDJ