A new era: Marcos Jr. signs Negros Island Region Act into law

Posted by watchmen
June 14, 2024
Posted in HEADLINE
Photo courtesy of Mike Alquinto/PPA Pool Photo
Photo courtesy of Mike Alquinto/PPA Pool Photo


President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. signed Republic Act 12000, or the Negros Island Region (NIR) Act, unifying Negros Occidental, Negros Oriental and Siquijor into a new administrative region.

Marcos, during the ceremonial signing of the law in Malacañang Palace yesterday afternoon, said the NIR, now the 18th region in the country, aims to promote economic development and improve government services in the three Visayan provinces.

“This union is long overdue and makes very practical sense, especially in Negros Island, where people are located on one island, but are governed under separate administrative regions,” Marcos said.

With the signing of the law, the three Visayan provinces will now be under the NIR, which will pave the way for a more unified and effective approach to addressing the region’s development challenges, including uneven growth and disparity of funding.

“For decades now, Negrenses have endured the rigors of sea travel, unnecessary expenses, bureaucratic red tape, and inefficiency that set up this arrangement has brought,” the President said.

The NIR Act is expected to bring government services closer to the Negrenses and Siquijodnons, and facilitate integrated development planning towards inclusive, resilient and sustainable development in the region.

The new region is also seen as a major step towards achieving greater regional autonomy and self-governance.

Negros Occidental, including Bacolod City, will be separated from Western Visayas (Region 6), while Negros Oriental and Siquijor will cease being a part of Central Visayas (Region 7).

Meanwhile, Negros Occidental Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson expressed his gratitude for the signing of the law, saying that it was a long-awaited achievement for the province.

“On this historic day, I am deeply grateful that this aspiration, 30 years in the making and spanning the terms of five governors of Negros Occidental, has finally come to fruition,” Lacson said.

“Our belief that the immense potential of Negros Island, Siquijor and our people can best be realized by becoming one region has driven our efforts and determination through the years. This welcome development will undoubtedly lead to positive impacts on the maintenance of internal security, peace and order, environmental management, disaster risk reduction, tourism promotion, integrated development planning, and easier access to regional offices,” he added.

Negros Occidental 3rd District Representative Francisco Benitez, one of the bill’s principal authors, welcomed the President’s signing of the law.

“We thank President Marcos. Jr. for his support of our dream of a separate administrative region,” Benitez said.

“This will bring government services closer to the people, and facilitate integrated development planning towards inclusive, resilient and sustainable development in the region,” he added.

Bacolod City Mayor Alfredo Abelardo Benitez said the NIR will lead to reduced bureaucratic processes.

“There will be more infrastructure and development projects, and this will also create more growth areas and open more government positions that will give opportunities to local government workers,” Benitez said.

Victorias City Mayor Javier Miguel Benitez, president of the Negros Association of Chief Executives, in a statement, said the new region will “rekindle the shared history between Negros and Siquijor.”

“The people of both islands celebrate this giant leap forward and look up to the possibilities that will propel unprecedented cultural, economic and political development in the new region,” Benitez said.

“This is not only the beginning of a new path for a unified Negros Occidental, Negros Oriental and Siquijor, but also a shared triumph to be shared and cherished by its people,” he added./JB, WDJ


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