Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri, who is set to lead the Senate in the 19th Congress, has committed to file and spearhead the Negros Island Region Act in the upper chamber. He originally filed the bill in November 2021, in a bid to bring Negros Occidental, Negros Oriental, and Bacolod City under a single administrative region.
“I thank President-Elect Bongbong Marcos for assuring us, this early on, of his support for the creation of the Negros Island Region (NIR),” Zubiri said. “There has been a long history behind the NIR, and my fellow Negrenses are eager to see its establishment after decades of lobbying.”
At present, Negros Occidental and Negros Oriental belong to separate administrative regions—Region VI and Region VII, respectively. This has long posed a challenge for Negrenses, whose access to government services and offices are hampered by geographic and administrative barriers.
In response to this, the NIR was finally created in May 2015, under Executive Order No. 183. In 2016, however, the executive remarked that the region was proving to be too costly, and was no longer deemed a priority of the government. Zubiri filed Resolution No. 203 to support the continued recognition of the NIR, but by 2017, it would be formally abolished under Executive Order No. 38.
“The abolishment of the NIR was a setback, but with the new administration’s support, I am very hopeful that we can finally reestablish the region, under the proper legislative framework this time.
“Once we establish the NIR, we will be able to hasten the development of Negros Island, and give it its own dedicated regional offices. That is really the main point behind the establishment of the NIR—making government services accessible to our people. With those in place, we will be able to lay down the groundwork to make Negros a center of commerce and tourism in the Visayas region.”
“As someone with paternal roots in Kabankalan, Negros, I am prepared to continue advocating for the NIR in the incoming Congress. The NIR has long been a primary concern of my fellow Negrenses, and I am committed to spearheading the bill, for the continued growth of the region.”//