Negros Island Region
|Negros Island Region
Proposed Component Provinces Shaded in Red
|Regional Center||Kabankalan City and Mabinay|
|• Total||13,665.89 km2 (5,276.43 sq mi)|
|• Density||313.59/km2 (812.2/sq mi)|
|• Highly-urbanized cities||1|
|• Component cities||18|
|Time zone||PHT (UTC+8)|
|Spoken languages||Hiligaynon, Cebuano, English, Spanish|
Negros Island Region, also known as Region VI-B, is a proposed region in the islands of Negros and Siquijor, composed of the provinces of Negros Occidental, Negros Oriental, and Siquijor, with the highly-urbanized city of Bacolod.
|Negros Occidental||Bacolod City¹||2,396,039||7,965.21||300|
|Negros Oriental||Dumaguete City||1,286,666||5,385.53||240|
Negros was originally called Buglas, an old Hiligaynon word thought to mean "cut off", as it is believed that the island was separated from a larger landmass by rising waters during the last ice age. Among its earliest inhabitants were the dark-skinned Ati people, one of several aboriginal Negrito ethnic groups dispersed throughout Asia that possess a unique culture.
Upon arriving on the island in April 1565, the Spanish colonisers called the land Negros after the black natives they observed. Two of the earliest native settlements, Binalbagan and Ilog, became towns in 1573 and 1584, respectively, while other settlements of the period included Hinigaran, Bago, Marayo (now Pontevedra), Mamalan (now Himamaylan), and Candaguit (a sitio of San Enrique). In 1572, King Philip II of Spain conferred the title of Marques de Buglas to the heirs of Juan Sebastián Elcano; the current Marquis is the 17th in line, and resides in Silay City, Negros Occidental.
After appointing encomenderos for the island, Miguel López de Legazpi placed Negros under the jurisdiction of the governor of Oton on Panay. In 1734, however, the island became a military district with Ilog as its first capital. The seat of government was later transferred to Himamaylan until Bacolod became the capital in 1849.
In 1890, the island was partitioned into the present-day provinces of Negros Occidental and Negros Oriental. On 9 April 1901, the Second Philippine Commission under the chairmanship of William H. Taft arrived in Dumaguete. Weeks later on 1 May, the civil government under American sovereignty was established, and on 28 August, Dr. David S. Hibbard founded what is now Silliman University, with the help of the first Mayor Dumaguete, Meliton Larena, and The Hon. Demetrio Larena.
From 3 to 6 November 1898, the Negrense people rose in revolt against the local Spanish colonial government headed by politico-military governor Colonel Isidro de Castro. The Spaniards decided to surrender upon seeing armed troops marching in a pincer movement towards Bacolod. The revolutionaries, led by General Juan Araneta from Bago and General Aniceto Lacson from Talisay, bore fake arms consisting of rifles carved out of palm fronds and cannons of rolled bamboo mats painted black. By the afternoon of 6 November, Col. de Castro signed the Act of Capitulation, thus ending centuries of Spanish rule in Negros Occidental.
On 27 November 1898, the Cantonal Republic of Negros unilaterally proclaimed independence, but this was short-lived as the territory became a protectorate of the United States on 30 April 1899. The state was renamed the Republic of Negros (Spanish: República de Negros) on 22 July 1899, and eventually dissolved by the United States and annexed by the U.S. Military Government of the Philippine Islands on 30 April 1901.
The movement for a single-island region was started by the joint talks between former Governor Bitay Lacson and the late former Governor Emilio Macias after the EDSA People Power Revolution, from the period between 1986 to the end of their term in 1992. Their successors, former Governor Rafael Coscolluella and former Governor (now Representative) George Arnaiz took the initiative further, first identifying Kabankalan City in Negros Occidental and the neighboring town of Mabinay in Negros Oriental as joint regional centers.