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SOURCE: Press and Public Affairs Bureau

Bill creating NIR hurdles House
06 March 2023 05:20:27 PM

THE House of Representatives has unanimously approved on third and
final reading a measure creating the Negros Island Region (NIR) in the

Garnering 290 affirmative votes during nominal voting on Monday was
House Bill (HB) No. 7355, titled, "An Act establishing the Negros
Island Region, and appropriating funds therefor'.

The formation of the NIR has been a pipe dream for lawmakers in the
region, as they believe that it would bring more progress and
solidarity among their constituents.

The measure gained traction in the 19th Congress under the
administration of President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr.

It is one of the 12 priority measures of the Marcos administration
that the House of Representatives under the leadership of Speaker
Martin Romualdez vowed to pass this year.

Some of the principal authors of the bill are Negros Occidental Reps.
Juliet Marie de Leon Ferrer, Alfredo D. Marañon III, and Francisco
“Kiko” Benitez, and Abang Lingkod Party-list Rep. Joseph Stephen
“Caraps” S. Paduano.

Under HB No. 7355, the NIR will be composed of provinces, including
the cities, municipalities, and barangays located in the provinces of
Negros Oriental, Negros Occidental, and Siquijor, including Bacolod

The measure provides for the creation of the Negros Island technical
working group (TWG). It will be composed of representatives from the
Office of the President, the Department of Budget and Management, the
Department of the Interior and Local Government, the representatives
of the Office of the Governor of the provinces of Negros Oriental,
Negros Occidental, and Siquijor, and all the elected district
representatives of the said provinces, including the representative of
Bacolod City.

"The TWG shall formulate strategic plans to put in place the
institutional arrangements for the NIR; recommend to the Office of the
President the preferred location of the Regional Center; arrange the
requirements for the organizational development, staffing, and
budgeting of regional line and regulatory agencies, as well as the
imperatives for development planning and investment programming," the
bill stated.

The measure also specifies a task for the Department of Interior and
Local Government (DILG).

"Notwithstanding the activities of the NIR-TWG," it said, "And to
ensure the smooth transition of basic services, the DILG is hereby
designated as the Secretariat of the TWG until the latter has
completed its task. The plans and recommendations of the TWG shall be
approved by the President."

As per HB No. 7355, all departments, bureaus, offices, agencies, and
instrumentalities of the national government, including
government-owned or controlled corporations and government financial
institutions, are hereby directed to extend full assistance to the
NIR-TWG in support of its functions and activities. (END)