Marcos asked not to veto NIR bill

Gilbert Bayoran - The Philippine Star
Marcos asked not to veto NIR bill
President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz answered questions from the members of the media during the joint press conference at the Chancellery as part of President Marcos' working visit to Germany on March 12, 2024.
PPA Pool Photos by Yummie Dingding

 BACOLOD CITY  , Philippines — Businessmen in Negros Oriental have asked President Marcos to deny a request of the Diocese of Dumaguete to veto the Negros Island Region (NIR) bill for lack of merit. The creation of the NIR is being proposed to bring together under one administrative region  the provinces of Negros Occidental, Negros Oriental and Siquijor.

Under the present setup, Negros Occidental belongs to Western Visayas while Negros Oriental and Siquijor are part of Central Visayas.

In a letter to President Marcos, the Negros  Oriental Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NOCCI) disputed what it described as misleading, unfair, unfounded statements and insinuations issued by the Diocese of Dumaguete on the creation of the NIR.

NOCCI president Edward Du reiterated the support of the Negros Oriental business community to the creation of a new administrative region.

Earlier, the diocese wrote Marcos to  convey its opposition to the creation of the NIR due to alleged lack of public consultation.

Bishop Julito Cortes said the NIR bill lacked comprehensive information dissemination and meaningful consultation with diverse sectors and stakeholders in Negros Oriental.

Du belied Cortes’ claims, saying a five-month province-wide public consultation on the “pros and cons” of the NIR was conducted twice in Dumaguete City as well as in Bayawan, Mabinay and Guihulngan.

“A 2014 survey conducted by the Silliman University compelled political leaders in the province to hold the five-month public consultations,” Du said.

He said the survey indicated that a huge number of Negros Oriental residents were undecided on the creation of the NIR.

Frank Carbon, vice president of the Metro Bacolod Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said the business community in Negros Occidental is hoping that bishops and priests of the Diocese of Dumaguete would support the NIR proposal.

Du said that during the two-year implementation of the NIR, or before it was abolished under the Duterte administration, no injustice, inequality and economic disadvantage happened.

“Negros Occidental never exercised dominance over Negros Oriental despite the disparity in size and population,” Du said.

He said the movement for one NIR is not only initiated by the political sector, but also by business and other stakeholders including the academe.

Du said during the implementation of the NIR, the administrative region was able to accomplish its objectives and mandates without spending billions of pesos.

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