Negros Occidental Gov. Alfredo Marañon Jr. said the Province of Siquijor cannot be included in the Negros Island Region (NIR).

It would not be called Negros Island Region if we include Siquijor, Marañon said.

Interior and Local Government Secretary Manuell Roxas II had revealed the intention of Siquijor to join the NIR during the caucus on the newly-formed region in Bacolod City last week.

Executive 183 clearly stated that NIR is created to further accelerate social and economic development of the cities and municipalities comprising Negros Occidental and Negros Oriental and improve the delivery of public services in the two provinces.

The NIR Technical Working Group will convene on June 15 in Manila to finalize the Implementing Rules and Regulations of the NIR.

Roxas had earlier told Negros Occidental officials, “Siquijor is thinking about joining. That is also a possibility that you have to think about.”

The travel time between Negros Oriental, which will host the NIR regional offices in Dumaguete City, and Siquijor is much shorter, only an hour. On the other hand, it takes about five hours for residents of Siquijor to reach Cebu, the regional center of Central Visayas.

Siquijor, which used to be a sub-province of Negros Oriental, is an island-province composed of six municipalities, including Enrique Villanueva, Larena, Lazi, Maria, San Juan, and Siquijor, which is the provincial capital.