PRESIDENT Benigno Aquino III approved on Thursday the creation of the Negros Island Region (NIR) through an executive order he is expected to sign in the coming weeks.

The President made the announcement after his meeting with Negros Occidental Governor Alfredo Marañon Jr. and Negros Oriental Governor Roel Degamo following the inauguration of the Negros First Cyber Centre in Bacolod City on Thursday.

Aquino said he told the two governors to make a draft of the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) to be included in the executive order.

"Governor Degamo and Governor Marañon are here. All contentious issues have already been addressed and that only few issues remaining. As soon as I receive that, I will sign the Executive Order creating the (Negros Island Region),” the President said in a press conference after the meeting.

Asked when he will exactly sign the executive order, he replied, “It depends on when they will submit it. I was hoping we’re talking about weeks, not months.”

In his speech during the inauguration of the Cyber Centre, Aquino mentioned his support for the Negros Island Region as he acknowledged the presence of Degamo and other Negros Oriental officials in Bacolod on Thursday.

"Di ho ba parang may logic talaga iyon. Isang isla kayo, pero dalawang region ang kinabibilangan. Divided by six at divided by four. Ganyan ‘ata napupunta dati, di ba? Kaya kung magkasama kayo, divided by two. Parang mas madali yata ‘yung divided by two," the President said.

At present, Negros Occidental belongs to Western Visayas (Region 6) while Negros Oriental is part of Central Visayas (Region 7).

For his part, Degamo said that both provinces should sign first a memorandum of agreement to concretize all the agreements and put these into writing for the future generations of the two provinces.

"We do not want that our economy will be eaten up by Negros Occidental in the future. We agreed on the 60-40 sharing because I know the fact that Negros Occidental is bigger than Negros Oriental but we want to be sure of the safety nets first before I say ‘yes’ to NIR. Once the safety nets are in place, I will say yes," he said.

Degamo added that he appreciates so much the gesture of Marañon who personally went to Dumaguete to invite him to attend the inauguration of the Cyber Centre.