‘Unconstitutional;’ Dumaguete diocese: NIR bill should be rejected for being ill-conceived

Posted by watchmen
May 6, 2024
Posted in HEADLINE


The Diocese of Dumaguete said the Negros Island Region (NIR) bill is unconstitutional, as they renewed their appeal to President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. not to sign the bill into law.

In their second letter to Marcos dated April 29, the diocese, headed by Dumaguete Bishop Julito Cortes, urged the President to review Senate Bill 2507, which aims to establish the NIR.

“We humbly implore Your Excellency to give due consideration to our earnest appeal,” Cortes said in his letter.

He is urging Marcos to veto the NIR bill as it allegedly violates the 1987 Constitution, citing Section 10, Article 10 which states that “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.”

“We recommend to Your Excellency to veto the NIR, and return it to Congress for further study, consistent with the requirements of the Constitution,” Cortes said.

He added that the measure must be rejected for being ill-conceived due to lack of feasibility study, and for being unnecessary.

Cortes said the concerns in the bill involve constitutional and economic issues that must be overcome before considering the non-constitutional issues.

The non-constitutional aspects include feasibility studies, potential economic impact, and respect for cultural and linguistic diversity within the proposed region.

Cortes also claimed that a notice of invitation to participate in a congressional or Senate hearing on the NIR bill was not issued, which also violates due process.

Earlier, the diocese appealed to Marcos to veto the NIR bill due to “lack of information dissemination and the absence of public consultation with diverse sectors and stakeholders.”

They also cited reasons for opposing the establishment of NIR, such as “disproportionate impact” on less privileged sectors, unequal distribution of resource allocation and representation, and the threat to exacerbate existing inequalities.

In April, Negros Occidental Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson assured that Negros Oriental will not be put at a disadvantage if the NIR is established.

Negros Oriental has fewer congressional districts compared to Negros Occidental.

Lacson also said the diocese should be provided with all the necessary information about the NIR bill to make an informed decision.

The Senate passed the NIR bill on the third and final reading in March of this year, creating a new region consisting of Negros Occidental, Negros Oriental and Siquijor.

The bill seeks to improve the delivery of basic government services on Negros Island, through the establishment of regional government offices, and to promote decentralization to strengthen local autonomy.

Negros Occidental currently belongs to Western Visayas, while Negros Oriental and Siquijor are under Central Visayas./JB, WDJ

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