Governor optimistic about NIR Law despite bishop’s objections

Negros Occidental governor Eugenio Jose Lacson

By Dolly Yasa

BACOLOD CITY – Negros Occidental Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson remains positive that President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. will sign the bill reinstating the Negros Island Region (NIR), despite opposition from a Dumaguete bishop.

With the bill’s strong support in both Congressional chambers, Lacson expressed hope for a favorable outcome.

The governor expressed gratitude towards Iloilo Governor Arthur Defensor Jr. and Iloilo City Mayor Jerry Treñas for their support, acknowledging their understanding of the administrative benefits a unified region would bring to Negros Occidental and Negros Oriental.

Lacson voiced his surprise at Dumaguete Bishop Julito Cortes’ last-minute dissent, questioning the timing of such opposition when the process is nearly complete.

“Why only now?” he queried, reflecting on the bill’s journey through legislative deliberation.

Bishop Cortes has criticized the NIR bill, labeling its passage “an insult to the people,” and claiming widespread resistance.

Despite this, the three representatives from Negros Oriental have joined forces with their legislative counterparts in Negros Occidental and Siquijor, co-sponsoring the bill for the creation of the Negros Island Region.