After signing of NIR law, Benitez can’t stay as chairman of RDC-6

Bacolod City Mayor Albee Benitez
Bacolod City Mayor Albee Benitez

Bacolod City Mayor Alfredo Abelardo Benitez, chairman of Regional Development Council (RDC)-Western Visayas, will wait for the Implementing Rules and Regulation (IRR) for the implementation of the newly created Negros Island Region (NIR) to determine his fate as the chairman of the RDC-6.

Benitez said President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. already signed Republic Act 12000 or the NIR Act, composed of Negros Occidental, Negros Oriental and Siquijor.

He said there will be 15 days publication of the law and 60 days for the technical working group (TWG) to craft the IRR and then, it will go for the implementation.

“I can’t stay as RDC-6 chairman since we’re now an NIR and it will also depend on the stakeholders if they will elect me as a chairman of the RDC-NIR,” he added.

The mayor noted that the IRR will be tackled by the TWG headed by the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG). 

Benitez said that he already held a meeting with the officials of Region-6 and they are now working to schedule the meeting with the officials of Region-7 for the implementation of the NIR.

“ Maybe, the new law will be implemented within the year and of course, the budget of the NIR will manifest itself in next year’s budget,” he said.

Benitez recalled that during the signing of the law, Marcos mentioned to them that initially, he was not in favor of creating more regions because it will just create more cost and it’s not necessary in this age of time or the technological advancement where everybody can communicate and transact online.

“ But, he heard that the governors and congressmen lobbied for the creation of the NIR and he saw the benefit of creating the NIR so he agreed to sign it,” Benitez said.

Before the signing of the NIR Act, Negros Occidental was part of Region VI while Negros Oriental and Siquijor were under the governance of Region VII.

This administrative set-up has long been considered costly and inconvenient by residents of the three provinces, who have had to travel to Iloilo and Cebu to transact with their respective regional government offices.

It will bring the total number of regions in the country to 18.

Benitez said the City Government of Bacolod is open to accommodate the regional offices here.

“ I’m sure the departments can allocate some of their resources from their existing budget for the NIR like the personnel, staffing and other resources since no budget has been given yet to the NIR,” he said.

He added they can also use their satellite office here as their temporary office./MAP

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