Negros Island Region

Marcos promises highway expansion, 12 bridges to boost Negros Island Region

Ambo Delilan

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Marcos promises highway expansion, 12 bridges to boost Negros Island Region

'EXCITED.' President Marcos waves to the crowd as he arrives at the football field of the University of Negros Occidental-Recoletos in Bacolod City on Thursday, June 27.

courtesy of the Negros Occidental Provincial Capitol

'I am truly excited about the potential of this new region,' President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. tells a crowd in Bacolod City

BACOLOD, Philippines – President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. promised on Thursday, June 27, to expand a major highway running through Bacolod City and other key areas in Negros Occidental, as well as construct at least a dozen bridges across the Negros Island Region (NIR) to stimulate its economic development.

Speaking to a crowd in Bacolod, Marcos expressed his enthusiasm for the new region, which was established by a law he signed in early June. 

He said the government’s initial focus would be on expanding the 42-kilometer Bacolod-Negros Occidental Economic Highway and building 12 additional bridges in the island region.

“Ako po ay lubos na nasasabik sa potensyal ng bagong rehiyon na ito na nabuo sa pamamagitan ng batas na aking pinirmahan,” Marcos said.

(I am truly excited about the potential of this new region that was formed through the law I signed.)

The NIR, comprising Negros Occidental, Negros Oriental, and Siquijor, was officially formed to streamline government services, separating from the Western and Central Visayas regions under Republic Act No. 12000. The law was signed by Marcos on June 13.

Marcos promised that farmers in the NIR would receive more support through modern agricultural equipment, high-quality seeds, and other farming tools to boost the agricultural sector in the new region.

Meanwhile, the appointments of regional directors for the new region have started.

The Department of Health (DOH) appointed Dr. Razel Nikka Hao as the NIR’s first director, previously serving as DOH regional director in Region II. The Commission on Elections (Comelec) also named lawyer Lionel Marco Castillano as NIR director, formerly Comelec Region VII director based in Cebu.

The Philippine Army assigned two new battalion commanders – Lieutenant Colonels Siegfred Tayaba and Brian Bagaipo – in the NIR. Tayaba will lead the 94th Infantry Battalion in Ayungon, Negros Oriental, while Bagaipo will head the 15th IB in Cauayan, Negros Occidental.

A technical working group is currently developing the internal rules and regulations for the NIR. The selection of a regional center or office locations for national government agencies have not been decided yet.

Mayor Benjie Miranda of Kabankalan City offered to host the NIR’s regional center at the Central Philippines State University (CPSU) reservation area, citing Kabankalan’s central location on the island.

Other local executives in the NIR, including Bacolod City Mayor Alfredo Abelardo Benitez and Negros Occidental Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson, also proposed locations in their respective areas for regional offices.

Dumaguete City Mayor Felipe Antonio Remollo proposed strategic connectivity between Bayawan City and Cadiz City via Cuernos de Negros mountain to facilitate travel between Dumaguete and Bacolod.

San Juan, Siquijor Mayor Wilfredo Capundag Jr. advocated for hosting some regional offices in Siquijor to ensure equitable distribution among all provinces. –

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