‘NIR bill faces bleak future’

BACOLOD City – The passage of a bill creating the Negros Island Region is uncertain, according to Abang Lingkod Partylist Rep. Stephen Paduano.

Paduano said he is planning to take the issue with House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez in order to conduct a public hearing on the bill which he authored in congress.

The bleak prospect of reviving NIR via congressional fiat came to fore after President Rodrigo Duterte signed on Aug. 7, 2017 Executive Order No. 38 which dissolved the island region.

Despite the setback, Paduano echoed earlier statements of Negros Occidental 3rd district Rep. Alfredo Benitez that they would do everything in their power to lessen the negative impact of the NIR’s dissolution and make sure all programs for the region will be realized.

NIR was originally created through Executive Order no. 183 signed by former President Benigno S. Aquino III in 2015.

Meanwhile, more Negros officials mourned the demise of the NIR.

DILG Undersecretary Jayvee Hinlo said that “As a Negrosanon, I am saddened with the decision of the President to abolish the NIR the reason given being the lack of funds to sustain its full operation.”

“As a Filipino, I appeal to my fellow Negrosanons to respect the decision of the President. Although we failed to convince the President to retain the NIR, we have to understand that the administration has priority programs and projects that need funds that compete with the operational existence of the NIR.”

Bacolod City Mayor Evelio Leonardia said that first of all, “we have to respect the decision of the President.”

“But I hope we can still appeal this. With solid and valid justifications, maybe this NIR proposition can still be given a second look by the executive branch. Let us hope that our congressmen in the NIR territory will pursue and hasten the legislative process to put this issue back into the debating table.”

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