NEGROS Occidental Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson said Tuesday, October 4, that he sees no problem with the creation of the Negros Island Region (NIR) whoever is the governor of Negros Oriental.

Lacson said proclaimed Governor Roel Degamo was with them during the creation of NIR years back.

"(Henry Pryde) Teves was also in the general assembly of the League of Provinces of the Philippines held in South Cotabato on September 20 and I asked how's our NIR and he gave me a thumbs up so he also wanted to push it,” he said.

Lacson stressed whoever is the governor of Negros Oriental, whether it’s Teves or Degamo, he doesn’t see any problem as far as the creation of NIR is concerned.

On Monday, October 3, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) has proclaimed Degamo as the elected Governor of Negros Oriental after another candidate Grego "Ruel Degamo" Gaudia was declared a nuisance candidate.

Teves said he will abide by the decision of the Supreme Court, Comelec and Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) on the matter.

"Well if that's what Comelec says that Degamo is the true winner then so be it. I think they cited the reason and even cited the Supreme Court,” he said.

Meanwhile, Negros Occidental Third District Rep. Jose Francisco "Kiko" Benitez said there is no "real resistance" from the other provinces, especially those in Panay and Cebu, over the revived push to establish the NIR.

Benitez is author of the House Bill 1446 that seeks to create Region VI-B composed of the provinces of Negros Occidental, Negros Oriental and Siquijor.

He said the resistance comes from the Regional Development Councils (RDCs), which he said the Negros congressmen can manage.

"The biggest obstacle and hurdle for the NIR is the budgetary question. It is about how you face the implementation over time," the solon pointed out.

It will depend on how you do the phasing of the implementation of the NIR, Benitez also said, adding that the budgetary issue [on NIR revival] should be rationally addressed.

Siquijor wants to join the NIR, he said.

“I believe that the real issue is how to name the new NIR,” Benitez stressed.

The expanded NIR bill in the Lower House was introduced by Benitez and other Negros representatives namely Joseph Stephen Paduano (Abang Lingkod), Gerardo Valmayor Jr. (First District Negros Occidental), Emilio Yulo III (Fifth District Negros Occidental), Mercedes Alvarez (Sixth District Negros Occidental), Greg Gasataya (Lone District of Bacolod), Jocelyn Sy-Limkaichong (First District Negros Oriental), Manuel Sagarbarria (Second District Negros Oriental) and Arnolfo Teves Jr. (Third District Negros Oriental).

Negros Occidental is currently part of Region 6 (Western Visayas) while Negros Oriental and Siquijor are part of Region 7 (Central Visayas).*