Ejercito upbeat of PBBM's nod of NIR law before 2024 ends

Ejercito upbeat of PBBM's nod of NIR law before 2024 ends

Senator Joseph Victor Ejercito said he believes that Negros Island bill will become law before the end of 2024.

"I am very positive that President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. would sign the bill, already approved by the House of Representatives and the Senate," Ejercito, the principal sponsor of the bill, said.

He said the president has some concerns about the budgetary requirement of having a new region.

Ejercito revealed that NIR would need about P1.2 billion annually to establish regional offices. Establishing regional offices would need at least P30 million to P40 million for each regional office.

However, he said both Negros Occidental and Negros Oriental have agreed to donate land and buildings for the initial establishment of the regional offices which will be divided by the two provinces.

The regional office of Tourism and other related agencies would be established in Negros Oriental while the Philippine National Police, National Defense, and other governance-related offices would be established in Negros Occidental.

Regional offices of the Department of Education, Department of Health, and the Department of Public Works and Highways would be located in Dumaguete while the Professional Regulations Commission (PRC) may be established in strategic locations like in Kabankalan City, Ejercito further said.

"This is a joint effort by the Negros and Siquijor congressmen, with me and Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri. This is our early Christmas for Negrenses, Bacolodnon, and the people of Siquijor," Ejercito said.

He said that after the passage by the lower house and the Senate, the NIR bill would be tackled by the joint bicameral committee to reconcile some disagreed portions of the bill including the division of the regional offices.

Meanwhile, some local officials expressed their gratitude to Zubiri and Ejercito for the passage of the NIR Bill.

"This marks a monumental step forward as the Negros Island Region bill passes its third and final reading in the Senate. We thank all the senators for their unwavering support, especially Senator JV Ejercito and Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri. This is a great milestone for all Negrenses in our dream for a united and prosperous Negros," Third District Rep. Jose Francisco Benitez said in a Facebook post.

For her part, Fourth District Rep. Juliet Marie Ferrer said, "Finally, the dream of a Negros Island Region will become a reality.  We are grateful to the Senate for voting unanimously for the passage of the bill.  Special thanks to Senate President Zubiri and the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Local Government Sen. JV Ejercito for sponsoring SB No. 2507.  To my co-authors in the House of Representatives, thank you and congratulations."

"It is a momentous day as the Negros Island Act has been approved on its third reading in the Senate. I commend the dedication and commitment shown by our Senators towards the progress and unity of Negros Island. Together, we forge ahead for a brighter future," Bacolod City Mayor Alfredo Benitez also said.

Ejercito also said that with the establishment of the NIR, it would be easier for Negrenses to access the regional offices.*


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