The proposal to create the Negros Island Region (NIR) in the Visayas has moved one step closer to fruition.
This, after the House of Representatives approved on second reading 15 individual bills calling for the creation of the NIR during plenary session Wednesday night, March 1.
Passed on second reading via an omnibus motion were House Bill (HB) Nos. 3092, 6372, 6932, 7156, 7234, 7235, 7295, 7296, 7297, 7299, 7300, 7302, 7303, 7304, and 7355.
Deputy Speaker and TUCP Party-list Rep. Raymond Democrito Mendoza, the presiding officer of the session, announced the penultimate passage of the measures following a simple voice vote (ayes vs. nayes).
The bills call for the creation of the NIR, which has long been a dream of those living in the region.
Based on HB No.7355, which itself is a consolidation of HB Nos. 119, 330, and 1446, the NIR is composed of provinces, including the cities, municipalities, and barangays located in the provinces of Negros Oriental, Negros Occidental, and Siquijor, including Bacolod City,
"A Negros Island technical working group (TWG) is hereby constituted 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 particular bill stated.
"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; arrrange 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," it added.
The formation of the NIR is a priority measure of President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr.
It is one of 12 Marcos priority measures that the House has vowed to pass on third reading before the end of the year.
Marcos, through his State of the Nation Address (SONA) last year and statements released via the Legislative Executive Development Advisory Council (LEDAC), has identified 31 priority legislation.
The Speaker Martin Romualdez-led House has already passed on third and final reading 19 of these measures.