Marcos envisions NIR as center for economic growth in Visayas   

President Ferdinand  Marcos Jr. (3rd from left, front row), with Bacolod Rep. Greg Gasataya, Valladolid Mayor Enrique Miravalles, House Speaker Ferdinand Martin Romualdez, Ilog Mayor John Paul Alvarez, Negros Occidental Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson, Negros Oriental Governor Manuel Sagarbarria, and Bacolod City Mayor Alfredo Abelardo Benitez (l-r) at the signing of the NIR law.*PNA photo 

The Negros Island  Region Act is finally a law. 

The NIR, composed of Negros Occidental, Negros Oriental and Siquijor is  now the 18th region of the country. 

President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. signed  Republic Act 12000, the law creating the NIR, in the presence of the officials of the  three NIR provinces at   the Ceremonial Hall of Malacañan Palace  Thursday, June 13. 

Marcos, in his speech, said he  envisions the “NIR as one of the centers of development in the Visayas, further accelerating socio-economic development for the millions of Negrenses and providing strategic convergence regarding resources, investments, and economic planning”. 

The NIR  is long overdue and makes very practical sense, especially in the Negros Island, where people are located on one island but are governed under separate administrative regions, the president  said. 

Prior to the signing of the NIR Act, Negros Occidental was part of Region VI (Western Visayas),while Negros Oriental and Siquijor were under the governance of Region VII (Central Visayas). 

Marcos said  for decades now, Negrenses have endured the rigors of sea travel, unnecessary expenses, bureaucratic red tape, and inefficiency that this arrangement has brought, especially when there is a need to urgently access government services from regional centers on other islands. 

“Equally glaring is the uneven growth and disparity of funding between the two provinces, which share many of the same natural resources and industries, such as sugar, tourism, and renewable energy,” he said. 

“Today, thanks to the work of our legislators, the new Negros Island Region will be a bulwark of greater growth as well as a conduit for more effective and efficient delivery of essential services in the region,” he said. 

All the representatives of Negros and Siquijor authored the NIR bill in the Lower House, while senators  Juan Miguel Zubiri and Joseph Victor Ejercito have been credited with the push for the passage of the Senate’s version. 

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

“This is something that the national government will have to play a very large part in and we pledge that assistance so that we can bring this new region up to speed as quickly as possible”, he said.* 

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