‘NOW ON ITS HOMESTRETCH’ | Abalos emphasizes transitory provisions of NIR bill

Interior and Local Government Secretary Benjamin Abalos Jr.
Interior and Local Government Secretary Benjamin Abalos Jr.Carla Cañet photo

Interior and Local Government Secretary Benjamin Abalos Jr. emphasized the transitory provisions of the Negros Island Region (NIR) after it hurdled both the House and the Senate.

“What is important is that the process has been respected. This bill is what the Negrenses want," he said in a press conference in Victorias City, Negros Occidental, on Thursday, March 14.

He added, “The bill is now on its homestretch."

He said he is sure that the transition of different national government agencies to the NIR is in the bill.

"There should be a transitory provision. We are talking about national agencies that should be here," Abalos said.

On the concerns that the new region will incur huge financing, he said, "For sure, all the pros and cons have been filtered out by the Senate and House of Representatives. All of these concerns have been raised and addressed."

"What is more important is how it will be implemented considering that a lot has to be done, including the buildings," he pointed out.

He added that he is sure that "there is a mechanism for these."

Acting Governor Jeffrey Ferrer also said that the realization of the NIR is already 98 percent.

"We only need the signature of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.," Ferrer said.

Victorias City Mayor Javier Miguel Benitez, who is also the president of the Association of Chief Executives-Negros, said they welcome the Senate's approval of the bill.

“It's not only for our identity but also for easier and more practical side for us Negrosasnon to belong to one region,” he said.

"It will unlock the boundless development potential for One Negros Region,” Benitez said.

"The overwhelming support from the Senate with 22 affirmative votes and zero negative or abstention shows how important this historic move was not only to every Negrosanon but to the whole nation as well," Benitez said.

He also noted that last year's unanimous approval of the counterpart bill, House Bill 7355, at the lower house "heralded the widespread acceptance of the reorganized Negros Island Region."*


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