Press Release
September 22, 2023

Zubiri Unites Negros Occidental, Negros Oriental & Siquijor Leaders for Negros Island Region

"It is our job to bring government closer to our people, and this is why we are committed to reestablishing the Negros Island Region (NIR) once again."

This was the statement of Senate President Juan Miguel "Migz" Zubiri after his meeting with the governors and vice governors of Negros Occidental, Negros Oriental, and Siquijor on Thursday, to discuss the pending Senate proposal to merge the provinces under a single administrative region.

Despite being part of the same island, the provinces of Negros Occidental and Negros Oriental currently belong to separate administrative regions--Region VI and VII, respectively. The island of Siquijor belongs to Region VII as well.

"The situation in Negros right now is needlessly difficult for our people. Imagine that you live in Negros Occidental. If you want to run a government transaction, you have no choice but to travel all the way to Iloilo," he said.

"As if the expense and the hassle of regular travel is not enough, at the slightest weather disturbance, these Ro-Ro ships may pause their operations. So ano na lang ang gagawin ng mga kababayan natin? Mapapagastos pa sila ng accommodations nang wala sa oras.

"Talagang problematic ang current administrative set-up dito sa Regions VI and VII."

Joining Zubiri for the meeting was the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Local Government, Senator JV Ejercito, Special Assistant to the President Anton Lagdameo, Governor Bong Lacson and Vice Governor Jeffrey Ferrer of Negros Occidental, and Governor Manuel "Chaco" Sagarbarria and Vice Governor Jake Reyes of Negros Oriental.

Siquijor Governor Jake Villa also joined the meeting virtually, and expressed his full support for the inclusion of Siquijor in the NIR.

With the full support of the leadership of the concerned provinces, Zubiri is hopeful that the push for the NIR will prosper anew.

The provinces of Negros Occidental and Negros Oriental have already agreed upon the list of which government agencies and offices should be located in which province, with Siquijor's agreement.

They are set to submit the list to Sen. Ejercito's Senate Committee on Local Government, for consideration.

"We cannot expect our people to progress, if we cannot even give them easy access to our government services," Zubiri said.

"The Negros region is so full of potential, and if we bring our services closer to them, that will surely translate to unprecedented development for our provinces."

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