Castillano to head NIR; Central Visayas gets new director

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THE Commissions on Elections in Central Visayas (Comelec) 7 will have its new director beginning Monday, July 1, 2024, following the reassignment of its former director.

Outgoing Comelec 7 Director Lionel Marco Castillano has been appointed as the acting Regional Director for the Negros Island Region (NIR).

He will be replaced by Francisco Pobe, who was the director of the Comelec Caraga region.

Castillano’s new role will commence on Monday, as he prepares to oversee the local elections in 2025.

The Comelec NIR office will be based in Bacolod City, as confirmed by Castillano in a phone interview on Friday, June 28.

Castillano expressed confidence that his new appointment would enhance the accessibility of Comelec’s services to the people of NIR.

“Maka focus nami og maayo kay gamay nalang ka provinces nga among dal-on, mahatagan na og mas dakong higayon ang tanan sa ilang voting experience,” said Castillano.

(We can focus better because we only have a few provinces to manage, giving everyone a better voting experience.)

On June 13, President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. signed the establishment of the Negros Island Region (NIR), which includes Negros Oriental and Siquijor in the same region as Negros Occidental, separating them from Central Visayas and Western Visayas, respectively.

This change means that only Bohol and Cebu will remain as provinces in the Central Visayas.

He assured that the policies and procedures he implemented in Central Visayas would be applied in NIR.

He also mentioned plans to hold special registration drives for persons deprived of liberty, senior citizens, persons with disabilities, and pregnant women, continuing his inclusive approach from Central Visayas to NIR.

Castillano has also been in contact with Pobe to discuss future plans and preparations for Central Visayas.

He said maintaining open communication and collaboration is essential for addressing any challenges and ensuring that their strategies align.

He said his new role in NIR will be more expansive in terms of jurisdiction and responsibilities compared to his current role in Comelec 7.

“While both positions require a high level of oversight and management, the new role will involve establishing new processes and systems specific to NIR, which he said, is still in its formative stages. / CAV

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