Will Negros Island Region make a comeback?
The Negros Island Region, NIR for short, was created through Executive Order No. 183, series of 2015. This was signed by former president Benigno S. Aquino III. However, due to the lack of funding from the government, the newly created NIR was revoked by former president Rodrigo Duterte.
Since NIR was not included in the 2017 Budget, Duterte signed Executive Order No. 38 – “Revoking Executive Order No. 183 (s. 2015) which Created a Negros Island Region and for Other Purposes” on 07 August 2017. The whole island was governed as an administrative region officially named the NIR from May 29, 2015, to Aug. 9, 2017.
Negros Island Region – comeback?
In recent events, the new president Ferdinand Romualdez Marcos Jr. or simply Bongbong Marcos made his inauguration last June 30, 2022. With no moment to lose, Negros Occidental Congressman Alfredo Marañon III of Negros Occidental’s second district formally asked the House of Representatives to bring back the NIR through House Bill No. 330. Congressman Marañon filed this house bill last July 1, 2022. He is optimistic that House Bill No. 330 would get the nod of the House of Representatives since all 10 Negros Island representatives and others from the Visayas were supporting the revival of the one Negros region.
Rep. Francisco Benitez of Negros Occidental’s third district said he would also file a similar bill which would not only include the two Negros provinces—Negros Occidental and Negros Oriental—but also their adjoining province of Siquijor as part of the new region. All bills seeking to recreate the NIR would be consolidated at the committee level for deliberation, according to Benitez.
Executive Order from President Marcos
Negros Occidental is currently under Western Visayas, which also include the provinces of Iloilo, Capiz, Aklan, Antigue and Guimaras, and the independent city of Iloilo. Meanwhile, Negros Oriental and Siquijor are under Central Visayas. Along with the provinces of Cebu and Bohol, and the independent cities of Cebu and Mandaue.
Mayor Alfredo Benitez, of Negros Occidental’s capital Bacolod City, said President Marcos might issue an executive order reestablishing the NIR ahead of the passage of the bill creating it. Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri earlier said he would file a counterpart bill in the Senate.
Negros is the fourth largest and third most populous island in the Philippines with a total land area of 13,309 square kilometers. As of the 2020 census, Negros has a total population of 4,656,945 people. Will these two provinces be one region once again?