Legislators to file Negros region bill in May

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Saturday, April 12, 2014


NEGROS Occidental Third District Rep. Alfredo Benitez said the Visayan bloc legislators in the House of Representatives are planning to file next month the bill seeking the creation of a one-island region for Negros.

“We were not able to file it because we went on recess. But when we get back in May, we will consider filing the bill,” Benitez said during an interview with the Negros Press Club officers earlier this week.

Benitez earlier said the Visayan bloc composed of congressmen from the Visayas region agreed to file the bill that will push for the creation of a region that will merge Negros Occidental and Negros Oriental into one.

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The recent proposal was initiated by Negros Occidental Governor Alfredo Maranon Jr. and supported by Negros Oriental Governor Roel Degamo.

In a separate interview Friday, Benitez said Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa has agreed in principle with the proposal to create a Negros Island Region.

Benitez, who met with Ochoa Friday morning, said the Malacañang official assured him that he will help in pushing for the creation of the one-island region.

The congressman earlier divulged that he will meet with Ochoa to ask his help in asking President Benigno Aquino III to issue an executive order for such purpose.

“He (Ochoa) agrees in principle,” Benitez said.

However, the meeting with the President was not scheduled yet.

“As a suggestion, the creation could be done through an Executive Order just like what former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo did for Caraga Region. If we will proceed with and pursue both options and alternatives, I don’t see any reason I will not support the bill,” Benitez said.

Marañon said ealier the fastest way to create a Negros Island Region is through an issuance of an Executive Order by the President because an act of Congress will take some time.

Marañon together with other provincial officials of both provinces agreed to secure resolutions of support from the barangays, municipal and city councils and then hold a Negros Island Summit in July this year.

At present, Negros Occidental belongs to Region 6 (Western Visayas) while Negros Oriental is under Region 7 (Central Visayas).

Most of the regional offices of line agencies in Region 6 are located in Iloilo City in Panay Island while those in Region 7 are situated in Cebu province.

Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on April 12, 2014.

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