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Bacolod City, Philippines Monday, October 17, 2016
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Negros SP to join
call to retain NIR

The Negros Occidental Sangguniang Panlalawigan is poised to pass a resolution requesting President Rodrigo Duterte to maintain the status quo and allow the continued existence of the Negros Island Region.

And in the event of a shift to a federal system of government, the draft resolution also asks the president to retain the unification of Negros Occidental and Oriental under one Federal State, or to be joined together with other provinces under a Visayas State as the case may be, its author Board Member Alain Gatuslao said yesterday.

The resolution for the retention of the NIR is up for deliberation by the SP at its regular session Wednesday.

Gatuslao has also drafted a proposed resolution requesting the Senate and House of Representatives to enact a law creating the NIR.

His move comes in the wake of warnings by Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno that President Rodrigo is set to sign an executive order dissolving the NIR, that could take place anytime soon.

In his draft resolution for the retention of the NIR, Gatuslao said that after a two-decade struggle for unification of Occidental and Oriental Negros, it was realized on May 29 2015 when then President Benigno Aquino III issued Executive Order No. 183, separating the two provinces from Regions VI and VII.

“Since the creation of the Negros Island Region, there has been a renewed sense of unity of purpose, social cohesion, and an undeniable optimism that all Negrenses finally have the means to share a common destiny,” the draft resolution said.

There have been alliances already formed and continue to be organized between the different sectors of both provinces, from government, social and people's organizations, as well as the business community, all working together for the sustainable development of the region, Gatuslao pointed out.

It is the urgent plea of Negrenses for the president not to revoke the executive order creating NIR, Gatuslao said.

“We Negrenses wish to continue our journey towards fulfilling the boundless possibilities of a united Negros Island through our own Regional Development, Peace and Order, Disaster Risk Reduction Management, and Statistical Councils, among other venues for cohesive planning,” the draft resolution said.

Gatuslao said he is also sponsoring resolution asking the Senate and the House of Representatives to pass a law creating the NIR since it may take time to move to a federal system.

In his draft resolution for a NIR law, Gatuslao said Negros duly supports the call of Duterte for a federal system of government and fully understands the implications such a progressive change will have on the Negros Island Region, such as its possible dissolution.

However, “we are cognizant of the reality that such a process may take some time yet”, the draft resolution added.

Last week the Bacolod Sanggunian also approved a resolution calling on the President to retain the NIR.*CPG



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