ONE STEP CLOSER | Senate passes Negros Island Region Act on third and final reading

Negros Island solons with Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri (seated, 2nd from left) and Senator JV Ejercito (standing, center).
Negros Island solons with Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri (seated, 2nd from left) and Senator JV Ejercito (standing, center).Sen. JV Ejercito photo

The Senate has approved on the third and final reading a bill that seeks to revive the creation of the Negros Island Region to be composed of the provinces of Negros Occidental, including the City of Bacolod, Negros Oriental, and Siquijor, Senator JV Ejercito confirmed Tuesday, March 12.

On Tuesday, March 12, Senate Bill No. 2507, which was principally authored by Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri and sponsored and authored by Senator Joseph Victor “JV” Ejercito, received 22 affirmative votes and no negative votes and abstentions.

"With the passage of this measure, the Negros Island Region, or NIR, is one step nearer to reality,” Ejercito said. “The idea for this bill was first planted three decades ago, with the approval of this chamber today, it will soon bear fruit.”

"Sa mga minamahal kong Negrense at Siquijodnon: Malapit na matupad ang matagal nating pinaglaban. Paparating na ang mabilis at maayos na serbisyo sa Negros Island. Thank you for fighting the good fight, and keeping the faith,” he added.

Ejercito, whose mother hails from Bacolod City, said the goal is for the six clusters of regional offices to be divided between the two halves of the island to ensure the effective delivery of services.

As the administrative division of Negros Island has not been conducive to regional development, Ejercito said the NIR law will strengthen local autonomy and accelerate the economic, cultural, and social development of the region.

"We would like to thank our colleagues for their support. Specifically, I would like to thank our Negrense-in-Chief, Senate President Juan Miguel “Migz” Zubiri, for putting momentum behind this bill. Hindi lang siya sweet talker, consensus-builder rin."

In a meeting in Manila on September 2023 with Ejercito, alongside Zubiri and Special Assistant to the President Anton Lagdameo, the current governors of Negros Occidental, Negros Oriental, and Siquijor— Gov. Eugenio Lacson, Gov. Chaco Sagarbarria, and Gov. Jake Villa, already expressed their full support for this bill. They cite inefficiency and red tape as the main reason for seeking a united Negros Island.

In 2015, the NIR was established through Executive Order No. 183. It was later abolished in 2017 through Executive Order No. 38.*


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