Benitez suggests changing Region name

BACOLOD. Bacolod City mayoralty aspirant Alfredo "Albee" Benitez slams a fake Facebook post purportedly telling poor Bacoleños that he is paying their electric and water bills. (File/Contributed photo)
BACOLOD. Bacolod City mayoralty aspirant Alfredo "Albee" Benitez slams a fake Facebook post purportedly telling poor Bacoleños that he is paying their electric and water bills. (File/Contributed photo)

Bacolod City Mayor Alfredo Abelardo Benitez, chairman of the Regional Development Council (RDC)-Western Visayas, has suggested changing the name of the Negros Island Region (NIR) to Negros and Siquijor Island Region (NASIR). Benitez, who led the Second Quarter Full Council Meeting on Tuesday, June 25, at L’Fisher Hotel in Bacolod City, said this proposal is more inclusive since it includes Siquijor Island.

On June 13, 2024, President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. signed Republic Act 12000, or the NIR Act, composed of Negros Occidental, Negros Oriental, and Siquijor.

Benitez said he’s also suggesting that the NIR would be part of Western Visayas, which means Western Visayas with two regions, Region 6 and NIR.

He said the Technical Working Group (TWG) also started to craft, draft, and finalize the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR).

“There will be 15 days publication of the law and 60 days for the TWG to craft the IRR and then, it will go for the implementation,” he added.

The mayor noted that he didn’t know if it might be his last chairmanship of RDC in Region 6 since it’s already too close to the implementation of the NIR.

“Possibly, this would be my last meeting with the members of the RDC-6 since the TWG has 60 days to craft the IRR,” Benitez said.

He said they will also discuss who will sit as regional chairman of the NIR since it’s an elected position and the stakeholders will decide to determine its chairman.

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. Benitez said Iloilo Governor Arthur Defensor Jr. also told him that it’s too early to divorce with Western Visayas. “ But, I told the Governor that this is not a divorce, just consider that your child got married. It’s an addition and it will not disappear,” he said.

Moreover, Benitez said the RDC also presented its national security plan so he asked the RDC’s secretariat to call a meeting with the Regional Peace and Order Council (RPOC), Regional Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (RDRRMC) together with the RDC.

“ We will discuss how to align ourselves with the national security plan. We want to prepare for any eventualities like calamities,” he said.

He added that the meeting will be held in Bacolod City.

“ We are making sure that if there’s any eventuality, we are prepared. It is designed to ensure that we have peace security, food security, power security, among others,” Benitez stressed.

He said the region should be able to stand on itself and should not be dependent on others./MAP

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