NEGROS Occidental Second District Board Member Salvador Escalante has expressed caution in pushing for a bill proposing the creation of the Negros Island Region, which he considers a sensitive matter.
“If we lobby and force the passage of a bill creating the NIR it will automatically have a budget,” Escalante said, but he expressed reservations because the two provinces might lose what has already been started and done for NIR.
The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) did not include the proposed P42-billion budget for NIR in the national appropriations for 2017.
Instead, both Negros Occidental and Negros Oriental will source the budgets for the regional line agencies from their previous regions, Western Visayas and Central Visayas, respectively.
House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, who recently visited the province, said that he has to consider the decision of the DBM regarding the NIR budget.
Still, he committed support to the plans to propose the NIR bill in Congress. He also assured Negrense officials that the executive order creating the NIR will not be revoked under the present administration.
Escalante said the Provincial Board plans to pass a resolution requesting congressmen in the province to file a bill for the creation of the NIR.
“The consensus is for us to inquire or consult first with our respective congressmen,” he added.
He further said that the non-inclusion of the NIR in the proposed states if the Philippines shifts to federalism "should be the rallying point of all our congressmen to lobby for its inclusion.”
Escalante said he will not encourage a lobby for the filing of the NIR bill.
“The congressmen should know what is best. For this time, the ball is in their hands,” he added.(TDE)
Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on September 26, 2016.
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