With or without Negros Oriental guv, NIR passage in Lower House definite

By Dolly Yasa

BACOLOD City – Negros Occidental 6th district Representative Mercedes Alvarez-Lansang said Thursday that the passage of the bill for the re-establishment of the Negros Island Region (NIR) is certain, with or without the consent of Negros Oriental Governor Roel Degamo.

Alvarez-Lansang said that as of this writing, Degamo has yet to submit his position paper on the re-establishment of NIR.

Earlier, Degamo expressed opposition to the rebirth of the NIR, and in a recent meeting with Negros Occidental Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson, he pushed for the creation of a fourth province to ensure equal footing in the new region.

He also said that he is contented to be with Region 7 where Negros Oriental currently belongs.

Alvarez-Lansang said that “It is his opinion and I respect that but I hope he will also respect the fact that all congressmen of Negros Occidental, Negros Oriental and Siquijor are principal authors of the NIR bill.”

“Wala man sang may ga oppose,” she stressed.

But she said she cannot speak for the Senate.

Alvarez-Lansang said that from the House Committee on Appropriation that approved the bill Wednesday, it will be endorsed to the Committee on Rules and Laws for scheduling on second reading during the plenary.

She explained that the second reading involves plenary debates and if there are no objections it will be passed on the third reading and then forwarded to the Senate.

Alvarez-Lansang also revealed an amendment suggested by the Committee on Appropriation wherein the initial budget for the rejuvenated NIR will be charged to the current budget of the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG).

The funds will be used for the creation of the Technical Working Group that will formulate the road map of NIR headed. It will be headed by the Office of the President, and all governors involved, congressmen, and mayors will become members.

“We are hoping that taga-an sya priority sang committee on laws para ma present on second reading,” she added.

Alvarez-Lansang also said that the DILG, which was represented in the Committee on Appropriation hearing, had no opposition to the NIR appropriation.

She said she also does not mind if President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., will issue an Executive Order for the re-establishment of the NIR while the bill is being deliberated by Congress.

“It will be in our favor and it shows that Malacanang is supportive of it,” she said.

The NIR was first established through an executive order issued by the late President Benigno Aquino III in 2015.

Degamo was supportive of the move then.

But the new region was dissolved in 2017 by Aquino’s successor, former President Rodrigo Duterte.