Press Release
October 19, 2016

Zubiri backs continued recognition of the Negros Island Region

Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri expressed his support for the continued recognition of the Negros Island Region (NIR), amid statements from the executive branch of plans to abolish the NIR.

Zubiri said, "the lopsided development of various areas in the island, the wide gap in poverty, and the tenuous peace and order situation with marked militarization in some areas can only be addressed when the NIR is fully operational."

The Negros Island Region was created by virtue of Executive Order 183 issued on 29 May 2015 by former President Aquino. It carved out the adjacent provinces of Negros Occidental from Region VI (Western Visayas) and Negros Oriental from Region VII (Central Visayas), to form a new and distinct administrative region for the purpose of accelerating their social and economic development and improving the delivery of public services.

Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno said that, "The EO on the NIR is not in the budget anymore. It will be repealed."

Thus, Senator Zubiri filed Resolution No. 203, calling for the continued recognition of the Negros Island Region, citing that its creation will promote efficiency in the region, enhance decentralization from the national government, and bolster economic development for local residents.

Zubiri recalled that the island has been "the center of insurgency in the 1970s and we don't want a repeat of that. Remember the CHICKS area? It was one of the poorest areas in the island. It was also the site of the US-led and directed Operation Thunderbolt which, instead of installing peace, was responsible for heightening the conflict." The CHICKS area consisted of the towns of Candoni, Hino-baan, Ilog, Cauayan, Kabankalan, and Sipalay.

"Twenty-three years ago, several towns in the Negros provinces were declared as Zones of Peace and Special Development Areas, The military and rebels worked towards brokering peace. We want to preserve and enhance the progress we have achieved. That is where the NIR is very relevant."

"My father, Governor Jose Ma. Zubiri, is a native of Kabankalan City, Negros Occidental, making us true-blooded Negrense. I support the continued existence of the NIR because I believe it is for the benefit of my kababayans,"

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