Marcos Jr. commits to signing bill for Negros Island Region

President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. has pledged to enact the NIR into law. (Dolly Yasa)

By Dolly Yasa and Glazyl Y. Masculino

BACOLOD CITY – President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. announced his intention to sign the bill re-establishing the Negros Island Region (NIR).

During his visit on Monday for the ceremonial energization of the Cebu-Negros-Panay 230kV Backbone Project of the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines and the distribution of Certificates of Land Ownership Awards (CLOAs) to farmer beneficiaries in Bago City, the President recognized the region’s challenges.

“It makes sense because it is very difficult for Negros Oriental to get services from the current regional center. This has been a longstanding issue,” he conveyed to reporters before departing for Bago City.

He further noted the difficulty in delivering government services: “We can consolidate and I can put it together, because right now, it is very hard to bring government service to the people.”

“The push to unite into one region is crucial, and it’s a sensible idea for that reason alone—to have our own regional offices,” added President Marcos Jr.

When directly asked by reporters about his commitment, he responded, “I think I will sign it.”

Local officials in Negros Occidental, who attended the mass distribution of 4,724 CLOAs to 2,797 ARBs at the Manuel Y. Torres Memorial Coliseum and Cultural Center in Bago City, expressed their joy over the President’s statement.

Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson, after welcoming the President, shared their anticipation: “From the onset, with the bill’s approval in the lower house and the Senate, we were confident of the President’s support.”

Victorias City Mayor Javier Miguel Benitez, President of the Negros Association of Chief Executives (ACE), Inc., shared the optimism, stating that the NIR’s establishment would enhance the province’s economic and programmatic development, as well as regional cooperation.

Emilio Yulo, fifth district Representative, and Mercedes Alvarez-Lansang, sixth district Representative, expressed their gratitude for the President’s favorable stance on the NIR bill.

“We are elated. This is a precious gift to our island and to Siquijor,” Lansang remarked, expressing hope that the bill will become law before this year’s State of the Nation Address (SONA).

Bacolod Representative Greg Gasataya voiced his appreciation for the President’s declaration and anticipation of its realization.

Vice Governor Jeffrey Ferrer mentioned his requests to the President: the passage of the NIR bill and the execution of the Panay-Guimaras Island Bridges Project, both of which he hopes will soon come to fruition.