Negros Oriental is enthusiastic and backs the realization of the Negros Island Region (NIR), an official who represented Negros Oriental Governor Manuel Sagabarria said at the opening of the 16th Negros Island Organic Farmers Festival in Bacolod City on Wednesday, November 15.
Woodrow Maquiling Jr., director of the Negros Oriental Provincial Tourism Board, said the provincial government is "excited" about the realization of the proposed NIR, saying, “The governor and other stakeholders are really anticipating and excited about the proposed NIR."
Maquiling said he will hold discussions with Bacolod City Mayor Alfredo Benitez on how to "further push tourism for the whole island already."
"MassKara Festival is one of the grandest not just in the country but the rest of the world as well," he pointed out.
He added, "We could start with tourism, especially food tourism."
"The slow food movement is starting now in Negros Oriental. It started here in Occidental and has spread to the Oriental side. The governor is very supportive of that," he also said.
"We are looking at food tourism and organic agriculture as one of the bedrocks of the Negros Island relationship between the two provinces," Maquiling also said.
Negros Occidental is under Region 6 (Western Visayas), while Negros Oriental and Siquijor are under Region 7 (Central Visayas), respectively.
The proposed measure is currently pending at the Senate Committee on Local Government, chaired by Senator JV Ejercito.
House Bill 7355, creating the NIR, was passed by the House of Representatives in March this year.
The NIR shall be composed of the cities, municipalities, and barangays in Negros Oriental, Negros Occidental, and the island province of Siquijor.*