THE confirmation of Interior and Local Government Secretary Manuel Roxas II of his support for the creation of the Negros Island Region (NIR) has elated officials of Negros Occidental.

In his speech during the opening of the 22nd Panaad sa Negros Festival Monday, Roxas said he endorsed the proposed region to President Benigno Aquino III.

Vice Gov. Eugenio Jose Lacson said "the light at the end of the tunnel looks brighter."

Board Member Mark Cui, president of the Liga ng mga Barangay in Negros Occidental, said they are happy to hear the news because all the Liga presidents in the province are for the one-island region.

Second District Board Member Salvador Escalante said Roxas “has taken the steps to undo what history had dealt to the fourth largest island in the entire Philippine archipelago."

"By doing so he has given his fellow Negrosanons that opportunity to again rise above ourselves," Escalante added.

Bacolod City Councilor El Cid Familiaran said he hopes the President will approve the proposal this year “so that we can start taking about a united and comprehensive plan for our region."

Roxas said the creation of the region could take place soon because he believes the President will see the favorable reasons for it.

He said he was moved by the overwhelming support of the people and officials of both the two Negros provinces to merge.