INTERIOR and Local Government Manuel Roxas III joined Negrense officials in lauding President Benigno S. Aquino III for the signing of Executive Order 183, creating the Negros Island Region.

"I am very pleased to share with you that news that, on May 29, President Aquino signed Executive Order 183, which creates the Negros Island Region. Through this significant EO, all cities, municipalities, and barangays under the former regions that included Negros Occidental and Negros Oriental are now part of just one region,” Roxas said in a statement yesterday.

Roxas, who had favorably endorsed the proposed NIR to the President, thanked both Governors Alfredo Marañon Jr. of Negros Occidental and Roel Degamo of Negros Oriental, and other Negrense officials who “continue to work with the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) in effectively executing the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of the new region.”

He also thanked the representatives of the business groups, civil society, and non-government organizations and other stakeholders for their active involvement in the consultations.

“However, I will have to ask for your assistance in one more matter. Please help the DILG in explaining and informing our countrymen about the details and benefits of having this one-island region. Through your sustained assistance and support, we will be able to bring our countrymen in Negros closer to living more progressive lives,” Roxas added.

He said that previous administrations have been working for the realization of the NIR for two decades.

The Negros Oriental provincial government will conduct a massive campaign to inform its people that the NIR has already been approved, Degamo said.

Negros Occidental Vice Gov. Eugenio Jose Lacson congratulated the people of Negros for the milestone.

“Most of all, let us express our gratefulness to the President and Secretary Mar for listening to the sentiments of the people of Negros Island,” he said.

Lacson added: “I ask our people to continue to stand with their leaders as we proceed to the actual work of regionalization. Let us expect that there will still be challenges ahead as we envision a bright future. Hence, let us continue to work together as we shape the lives of our Negrense brothers and sisters.”

Negros Oriental Vice Governor Edward Mark Macias said he is ecstatic and thankful to President Aquino for signing the EO.

Macias added that he is very thankful to the people who started the initiative 20 years ago, including his father, the late congressman and governor Emilio Macias.

Bacolod City RepresentativeEvelio Leornadia said EO 183 is great news for Bacolod and Negros Island as “this is something they have long waited for.

This will surely make Negros Island more attractive to investments and accelerate its growth, Leonardia added.

Mayor Monico Puentevella of Bacolod City said, “This is a time to celebrate.”

“Here comes booming Bacolod and Negros Region. Better late than never,” he added.(With reports from TDE)