RDC-6 Discusses Strategy for New Negros Island Region Formation

Bacolod City, Philippines — The Regional Development Council-Western Visayas (RDC-6), led by Bacolod City Mayor Alfredo Abelardo Benitez, met on Monday to strategize the forthcoming establishment of the Negros Island Region (NIR). This session aimed to address the transition and operational challenges expected with the new regional configuration.

According to Philippines News Agency, the meeting served as a platform for collaboration among local leaders, including congressmen, mayors, and regional directors, to prepare for the anticipated approval of NIR legislation. He highlighted that the bill, which proposes the creation of a region comprising Negros Occidental, Negros Oriental, Siquijor, and the highly urbanized city of Bacolod, was forwarded to Malacañang on May 13, awaiting presidential signature or automatic enactment.

One significant challenge discussed was the current understaffing in several national government agencies, which could hinder the region’s functional setup. “We are advocating for additional budget allocations for these departments to ensure they are adequately equipped to serve the new region,” Benitez stated. He plans to request a detailed proposal from the RDC-Central Visayas regarding staffing, resource allocation, and infrastructure for the NIR offices.

Further consultations are scheduled with stakeholders from Negros Oriental and Siquijor to integrate their perspectives and needs into the planning process. The current administrative division places Negros Occidental and Bacolod under Western Visayas, while Negros Oriental and Siquijor fall under Central Visayas, each with separate regional centers in Iloilo and Cebu, respectively.

Senate Bill 2507, which aligns with the NIR bill from the House of Representatives, dictates that the new region’s administrative functions will be split between the two Negros provinces. Negros Occidental will manage sectors including agriculture, land management, peace, order, security, and governance, whereas Negros Oriental will focus on human development, infrastructure, industry, and labor.