NEGROS Oriental second district Representative George Arnaiz said the proposed Negros Island Region (NIR) which already has the support of President Benigno S. Aquino will not affect his political plans as he believes the issue "should be beyond politics."

"This is not for me, not for him (Gov. Roel Degamo), but for the people of the entire island especially for our Negros Oriental,” said Arnaiz, who was in Bacolod City with other Oriental officials during Aquino’s visit last week.

Governor Degamo, who earlier expressed his opposition to the NIR, eventually agreed to the proposal after a meeting with the President, who asked him and Negros Occidental Governor Alfredo Marañon Jr. to submit a draft Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR).

If Degamo seeks re-election, he will be challenged by Arnaiz, a former governor himself.

"I am running for governor next year and if he (Degamo) will also run, I will be opposing him,” Arnaiz said.

During his visit to Bacolod, Aquino said that he will sign an executive order for the NIR once he receives the draft IRR of the two provinces that will be incorporated into the EO.

Before meeting with the two governors, Aquino said in his speech that he supports the proposed one-island region, adding that it makes sense that the two provinces should belong to one region since they are situated in the same island.

Negros Occidental currently belongs to Western Visayas or Region 6 while Negros Oriental is part of Central Visayas or Region 7.

In a press briefing following his meeting with Marañon and Degamo, the President said that the two governors have already addressed “all contentious issues.”