Negros Island Region fully functional by 2025

Posted by watchmen
June 15, 2024


The newly created Negros Island Region (NIR), composed of Negros Occidental, Negros Oriental and Siquijor, is seen to start functioning as an administrative region next year after Republic Act (RA) 12000 or the NIR Act was signed into law by President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. on Thursday afternoon, June 13.

Negros Occidental Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson said yesterday that officials from the three provinces hope that the NIR will already have its operational budget for 2025.

“The best-case scenario actually is it would become fully functional in 2025, especially now that the national government is preparing the General Appropriations Act. We’re hoping the budget for the NIR will be included,” Lacson said in a radio interview.

The NIR Act separates Negros Occidental from Western Visayas (Region 6) as well as Negros Oriental and Siquijor from Central Visayas (Region 7).

Lacson said it is important that the Regional Development Council (RDC) is organized as early as possible, suggesting that Bacolod City Mayor Alfredo Abelardo Benitez become the first RDC-NIR chairperson.

“Right now, he is the chairman of RDC-6. The experience is there. He knows what is needed to have a functional and effective RDC,” he added.

Lacson noted that both Negros provinces functioned as one region for two years following the creation of the first NIR under an executive order in 2015.

“We’ve done it before. We can do it again. Now that it is a law, we can do even better,” he said.

The governor said the President envisioning NIR as one of the centers of economic development in the Visayas is exactly the reason why Negros Island leaders want the creation of the NIR.

“Since 30 years ago, leaders of both provinces believe that the creation of the NIR will usher in a unified and coordinated island development planning and will also transform Negros as a showcase of economic progress,” he added.

The NIR Act aims to promote administration decentralization, strengthen local autonomy, and accelerate economic, cultural, and social development.

In his speech during the signing in Malacañang, Manila, Marcos said the NIR would be a “bulwark of greater growth” and a “conduit” for more effective and efficient delivery of essential services in the region.

The President pledged that the national government would provide the necessary assistance to bring the new region “up to speed as quickly as possible.”

“Indeed, in unity, there is always strength. And that is what we are building, and I trust that the people of the newly established NIR will work together to complement each other’s strengths to build a more united and flourishing Negrense community,” he added.


Better life for Negrenses

The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), meanwhile, said it expects the newly-created region to bring a positive impact to the life of Negrenses and the entire country.

Secretary Benjamin Abalos Jr., in a statement yesterday, said the DILG would ensure a “smooth and efficient transition to the new regional structure.”

He said the previous setup where the two Negros provinces belonged to different regions had caused a lot of inefficiencies and delays in the delivery of government services.

“With Negros island now considered part of a single region, the government can provide greater focus in its development efforts in the area,” he added.

In another statement, Senator JV Ejercito said the creation of NIR will make doing business easier as residents and entrepreneurs will have all services available in one administrative region.

“Everything they need will now be available in NIR. Bad weather will no longer hinder people from Negros Occidental and Oriental from conducting business or seeking services at regional offices” Ejercito, the principal author of the bill at the Senate, said.

He said the creation of the NIR will also improve the efficiency of government service delivery, as well as unify and coordinate island development planning to accelerate the economic transformation of Negros and Siquijor. (PNA)

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