Senator files bill to restore NIR

Posted by watchmen
November 22, 2021

By Dominique Gabriel G. Bañaga

Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri has filed a bill yesterday that aims to restore the Negros Island Region (NIR).

Senate Bill No. 2453, or the NIR Act, seeks to bring together Negros Occidental, Negros Oriental and Bacolod City, establishing them as a single administrative region.

According to Zubiri, the establishment of the NIR in 2015 was a long-awaited victory for Negros Occidental and Negros Oriental.

“Negrenses have been lobbying for the NIR as far back as the 80s, so its abolishment in 2017 was a blow. Sana nabigyan ng chance ang NIR,” Zubiri said.

Negros Occidental currently belongs to Region 6 or Western Visayas, while Negros Oriental is part of Region 7 or Central Visayas.

Zubiri pointed out the provinces’ considerable distance from their regional Centers (Iloilo, for Occidental; Cebu, for Oriental) has long made government services largely inaccessible to many Negrenses.

He further added that indeed, the NIR will entail additional cost on the part of the national government, but he pointed out it is worth the investment and in the long term it would be more economical and efficient having the two provinces under one administrative region.

In May 2015, former President Benigno Aquino III signed Executive Order 183, allowing for the creation of the Negros Island Region, in aim of “[accelerating] social and economic development and [improving] the delivery of public services in the aforementioned provinces.”

In October 2016, however, the executive remarked that the NIR was too costly and was not a priority for the government. Following this, Zubiri filed Senate Resolution No. 203, in support of the continued recognition of the NIR.
By 2017, President Rodrigo Duterte signed Executive Order 38, formally abolishing the region./DGB, WDJ

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