Marcos asked to issue EO for NIR




The Manila Times


BACOLOD CITY: The business sector from Negros Occidental and Negros Oriental has appealed to President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. to issue an executive order (EO) for the creation of the Negros Island Region (NIR) ahead of the passage of the law. The statement was signed by Negros Oriental Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Edward Du, Metro Bacolod Chamber of Commerce and Industry chief executive officer Frank Carbon, MBCCI president Roberto Montelibano, Bacolod Filipino Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Edgar Sy, Biopower Group of Companies president Arthur Aguilar and Negros Economic Development Foundation corporate secretary Eduardo Jereza. “As concerned members of the Negros Region business sector, we wish to express our strong support for the reestablishment of a separate, stand alone and full-fledged region, which will encompass Negros and Siquijor islands,” the statement said. On May 29, 2015, the NIR was first created through EO 183 signed by the late President Benigno Simeon Aquino 3rd that separated Negros Occidental from the Western Visayas Region and Negros Oriental from the Central Visayas Region. However, on Aug. 7, 2017, former president Rodrigo Duterte issued EO 38 that abolished the NIR. “It is time for Negrosanons and Siquijornons to be given their own empowered Regional Development Council, which coupled with the fair implementation of the Mandanas decision, would finally provide our regional elected leaders with the sufficient autonomy to unite, plan and execute projects to benefit our own citizens,” the business leaders said. “We appeal that the President issue an executive order which will reestablish the Negros Island Region with the inclusion of Siquijor Island.” The business groups also appealed to the lawmakers of Negros Island to pursue the passage of the NIR Law. “With due respect, the proposal to form 6A and 7A subregions will not achieve the region’s objectives and would not do justice to its vast economic potentials. It is a mere reshuffling of the Manila bureaucracy and certainly does not address the economic governance imperatives and opportunities which abound in the Negros Siquijor Region,” they said. Negros is the fourth largest island in our archipelago, the business leaders pointed out. “On a standalone basis, its gross domestic product will be larger than other existing regions. The natural resource endowments of the Negros Island allow it to be economically independent. It has hundreds of thousands of hectares of prime agricultural land composed of rich volcanic and alluvial soil and is laced by six major river systems that provide massive irrigation opportunities. It has gold, silver, copper and sulphur,” they said. “The geothermal power potential is among the largest in the country. It is the country’s capital of renewable energy which, if fully developed, can power the whole Visayas grid with clean and green energy. It has at least three natural deep-water world-class harbors that are rarely visited by typhoons.” They also said Negros and Siquijor possess world class tourism competitive potentials that can be compared with other areas which are now favored by the national government. “Negros is one ecosystem and the two provinces share the same mountain range. And yet, any watershed project will have to go to two other different islands for processing and approval. This ridiculous arrangement has prevailed for decades and has stunted the economic growth of the Negros Region which has not been favored by large national budgetary allocations compared to other regions,” they said.