A NATIONAL Government official said the creation of the Negros Island Region (NIR) state is inevitable under the new constitution expected to be fully realized in three years.
Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) Deputy Commissioner for Legal Group Jesus Clint Aranas, who was in Bacolod City Tuesday for the 2017 Tax Campaign kick-off ceremony, said that given its revenues, Negros can stand as one-island region.
BIR targets to collect P12.07 billion taxes in Negros this year, which is 16 percent higher than last year’s collection of only P10.4 billion.
“In terms of funds, no doubt, it can survive as one region,” said Aranas, a Negrense himself.
“The Constitution will be amended thus, I believe that the NIR state will happen and exist,” he added. “Under the federalism movement, NIR will become a reality.”
Aranas also said he will personally lobby with all officials concerned, including President Rodrigo Duterte, for the continuation of the region created on May 29, 2015.
The tax official said he will first start talking with the Congress.
“It is important for the constitutional body to see the need that as a state, we are self-supportive,” Aranas said.
Responding to the earlier statement of Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno that the creation of NIR is unconstitutional as it is only composed of two provinces, Aranas said: “He has his own opinions, but I’m looking to the future where the constitution will be changed.”
For his part, Governor Alfredo Marañon Jr. had also said that he respects the statement of Diokno as it is his opinion.
“But I strongly believe that no President will sign an executive order (EO) creating a new region without legal basis. The executive branch, with its research and legal staff, did their due diligence on this in the same manner that we, in Negros Island, went through the process that included an island-wide consultation,” Marañon said.
The governor said it is to the “best interest” of the Negrenses and the future generation to retain the NIR.
NIR is an administrative region and not and autonomous region, he added.