Governor: Marcos leans toward NIR reestablishment

Negros Occidental governor Eugenio Jose Lacson (Capitol photo)

By Dolly Yasa

BACOLOD CITY — Negros Occidental Gov. Eugenio Jose Lacson said President Ferdinand Marcos is likely persuaded that re-establishing the Negros Island Region benefits the three constituent provinces.

Lacson’s remarks followed a request from Dumaguete diocese leaders urging the president to veto Senate Bill 2507, which suggests reinstating the NIR, encompassing Negros Occidental, Negros Oriental, and Siquijor.

While Lacson acknowledged supporters who echo the diocese leaders’ sentiments, he noted a significant number also favor the NIR’s reformation, believing its feasibility in convincing the president.

“Until it’s signed, we can’t be certain,” he cautioned.

The governor pointed out that during a recent visit to Negros, the president’s comments indicated a tentative conviction that the NIR’s re-creation would serve the three provinces’ interests well.

“The president’s primary concern seems to be the region’s funding, ensuring even that is secured,” Lacson said.

In Dumaguete City, Negros Oriental, Bishop Julito Cortes and other church officials are appealing to President Marcos to reject the bill seeking the NIR’s revival.

On March 25, 2024, Cortes disseminated a statement through Facebook, pressing the president directly.

The bishop relayed the diocese’s worries, asserting, “We divulge the Diocese of Dumaguete’s official position to as many as possible while awaiting the president’s decision to inform the public about the bill and its profound effects on their lives.”

The church leaders pointed out the bill’s vague intentions to the public, reinforcing their earnest appeal for the president’s reconsideration.

“Our plea is not born of mere dissent but rather from a sense of duty to safeguard the future of our province,” they emphasized.