Negros Island Region

Marcos signs law creating new Negros Island Region

Dwight de Leon

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Marcos signs law creating new Negros Island Region
(1st UPDATE) Marcos signs the law that removes Negros Occidental and Bacolod City from Western Visayas, and takes away Negros Oriental and Siquijor from Central Visayas, to form their own, separate region

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines government has officially created a Negros Island Region (NIR), a culmination of a decades-long fight of advocates to create a separate region for the country’s fourth largest island.

Marcos signs law creating new Negros Island Region

President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. signed Republic Act No. 12000 on Thursday, June 13, during a ceremony in the Malacañang.

The law removes Negros Occidental and the highly urbanized city of Bacolod from Region 6 or Western Visayas, and also takes away Negros Oriental and Siquijor from Region 7 or Central Visayas.

The measure also enables the creation of a technical working group that will iron out the details of the institutional arrangements for NIR, such as the organizational development, staffing, and budgeting for regional agencies.

Historian Earl Jude Cleope said the proposal to create a separate region for the two provinces of Negros began in the 1980s, with the aim of generating more funds and creating more livelihood opportunities for residents of the island.

The push gained further momentum during the administration of Benigno Aquino III, and in 2015, he issued an executive order creating the NIR.

However, his successor Rodrigo Duterte revoked the order in 2017 due to lack of funding, dissolving the region.

Marcos has made the creation of the NIR a priority measure, saying that the new law will expedite the delivery of government services, an issue that people on the island have grappled with, as the two provinces belonged to different regions.

“For decades now, Negrenses have endured the rigors of sea travel, unnecessary expenses, bureaucratic red tape, and inefficiency that this arrangement has brought, especially when there is a need to urgently access government services from regional centers on other islands,” Marcos said on Thursday.

“This union is long overdue and makes very practical sense, especially in the Negros Island, where people are located on one island but are governed under separate administrative regions,” he added.

Officials and business leaders have supported the measure, but it was also met with some opposition among organized residents in Siquijor and the Diocese of Dumaguete, alleging a lack of public consultations.

Aside from RA 12000, President Marcos also signed in the same ceremony RA 12001, a law that reforms the country’s real property valuation and assessment system. – Rappler.com

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Dwight de Leon

Dwight de Leon is a multimedia reporter who covers President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., the Malacañang, and the Commission on Elections for Rappler.