Re-Establishment of the Negros Island Region May Lead to Concentration of Power Among Political Dynasties – BAYAN Negros

June 26, 2024

BACOLOD CITY – In a significant move, President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. signed Republic Act 12000 into law on June 13, restoring the Negros Island Region (NIR). This legislative action, built upon Senate Bill No. 2507 and House Bill No. 7355, consolidates Negros Occidental, Negros Oriental, and Siquijor into a unified administrative entity.

The primary motivation behind the revival of NIR is to invigorate the local economy and streamline regional planning and project execution across critical sectors such as infrastructure and agriculture.

According to Senator Francis Tolentino, a key proponent of the legislation, consolidating the provinces aims to expedite the responsiveness of National Government Agencies (NGAs), ensuring broader service delivery to the populace.

The recent volcanic activity of Mount Kanlaon on June 3 provided additional impetus for the swift enactment of the bill, underscoring the urgent need for enhanced NGA engagement across former Regions VI and VII.

However, the re-establishment of NIR faces staunch opposition from progressive groups within Negros Island. Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (BAYAN)-Negros contends that merging the provinces could concentrate power among political dynasties, raising concerns about potential monopolies in essential public services such as electricity, water, education, and food. They cite recent instances, like the privatization of BACIWA and CENECO in Bacolod City, as evidence of this trend.

It is noteworthy that NIR was initially established in 2015 during the administration of former President Benigno Aquino III but was dissolved in 2017 by former President Rodrigo Duterte due to budgetary constraints./PT

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