Benitez upbeat over approval of NIR law

Mayor Alfredo “Albee” Benitez (Glazyl Y. Masculino Photo)

By Glazyl Y. Masculino

BACOLOD CITY – Mayor Alfredo “Albee” Benitez welcomes the establishment of regional satellite offices here, following the approval of the Senate on a bill which seeks to revive the creation of the Negros Island Region (NIR) on March 12.

Benitez, who also chairs the Regional Development Council (RDC)-6, said that several regional heads have expressed their interest in putting up a satellite office here during their last meeting.

In the next RDC meeting, Benitez said that he will ask all the department and regional heads if they are interested in putting up a satellite office here, once the bill becomes law.

“Let’s wait for the bicameral. I think after the bicameral, it will go to the Office of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. for his signature. Hopefully, soon,” Benitez said in a media interview last Wednesday.

Benitez said that once the infrastructure for the regional satellite offices is built here, there will be better arrangements and dealings.

“Hopefully, it will hasten and speed up the services of various departments. They will be more responsive,” the mayor added.

Benitez said that the city can provide a space for the departments that are interested in putting up a satellite office here.

“We can consider. We’ll find out,” he said, adding that the city is currently expanding the Old City Hall, and constructing the legislative building at the Bacolod City Government Center.

On top of that, he said that the city also has government centers at SM City Bacolod and Ayala Malls Capitol Central that could accommodate them.

Senate Bill No. 2507, also known as the Negros Island Region Act, will comprise the provinces of Negros Occidental (including Bacolod City), Negros Oriental, and Siquijor.

It was co-sponsored by Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri, with Senator JV Ejercito serving as the principal author.

Benitez, in a statement, commended the dedication and commitment shown by the Senators towards the progress and unity of Negros Island.

“Today is a momentous day as the Negros Island Act has been approved on its third reading in the Senate. Together, we forge ahead for a brighter future,” Benitez said in a statement released on March 13.

The NIR bill was created under an executive order issued by the late President Benigno Aquino III in 2015.

Two years later, the NIR was abolished through an executive order issued by former president Rodrigo Duterte.