Negros Occidental Governor, Eugenio Jose Lacson, has emphasized the urgency of the proposed revival of the Negros Island Region (NIR), stating that it is a now-or-never situation.
Lacson fears that if the initiative is not implemented during the current administration, it may never come to fruition.
Senator Joseph Victor Ejercito, the chairperson of the Senate Committee on Local Government, has denied claims that the proposed NIR bill has been stuck in his committee. He explained that unforeseen circumstances, such as the death of the late Negros Oriental Governor, Roel Degamo, and his successor, caused delays in the process.
Ejercito also revealed that the President is apprehensive about the cost of implementing a new region, and they need to convince him of its viability.
Lacson has remained optimistic about the realization of the NIR, despite funding being the main issue that has been raised against it since its conceptualization.
He supports Senator Ejercito’s statement, and he prefers a short delay in the passage so that the committee on local government can build a strong case for the NIR. He believes it is better to study it thoroughly and convince the President rather than rushing it.
Regarding the budget, Lacson recalled that there was no budget allotted in the previous establishment of the NIR. He expressed his belief that if it worked out before, there is no reason it will not work out again. He clarified that they do not expect offices to be built immediately, but what is important is having a new and functional region.
Lacson has also offered spaces for the regional offices in the 25-hectare lot owned by the provincial government in Talisay City, or it could be in Kabankalan City.
He explained that they would follow the model of South Cotabato, where the regional offices of the region are in one area. Both Negros Occidental and Negros Oriental have agreed to divide the hosting of the regional offices.