Dumaguete diocese asks Marcos to veto creation of Negros region

April 12, 2024 - 3:19 PM
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Bishop Julito Cortes of Dumaguete. (Dumaguete Cathedral/Facebook)

Catholic Church leaders in Negros Oriental penned an open letter urging President Ferdinand Marcos Jr to veto the measure that would create the Negros Island Region (NIR).

The Diocese of Dumaguete urged the nation’s chief executive to reject the proposal citing its “grave lack of fair, and truthful consultation” .

“Our plea is not born of mere dissent, but rather from a sense of duty to safeguard the future of our beloved province,” the letter read.

“The Church’s sole concern in this matter is to ensure that the voice of the people is not only heard but also duly acknowledged and accorded the justice it rightfully deserves,” it said.

The NIR bill proposes the establishment of a new region comprising the civil provinces of Negros Occidental, Negros Oriental, and Siquijor, along with the city of Bacolod.

The two-page letter to Marcos was dated March 25 but was only posted on the diocese’s social media page on April 10.

The document was also signed by Bishop Julito Cortes and eight other curia officials of the diocese.

The church leaders pointed out how creating the NIR threatens to exacerbate the inequalities between Negros Oriental and Negros Occidental.

“This asymmetry in representation and resource allocation could perpetuate systemic injustices, further marginalizing vulnerable communities,” they said.

The diocese also questioned the inclusion of Siquijor in the proposed NIR without proper public consultation.

“We raise the perplexing inclusion of the province of Siquijor in the NIR, despite its distinct identity, language, and geographical separation from Negros,” they said.

Negros Oriental and Siquijor are part of Dumaguete diocese’s ecclesial jurisdiction.