By Ben Rosario
After 42 years of being officially included in the territorial jurisdiction of Metro Manila, Pasig City remains the official capital and seat of government of Rizal province – a lingering reminder of the one-man martial rule launched in 1972.
Rizal Rep. Isidro S. Rodriguez Jr. said the province, particularly the four lawmakers representing it, want to correct this inaccuracy by making Antipolo City the capital of the province named after national hero Dr. Jose P. Rizal.
Together with Reps. Chiqui Roa-Puno and Romeo Acop of Antipolo City and Michael John Duavit of Rizal, Rodriguez co-authored House Bill 3046 seeking to transfer the capital and seat of government of Rizal from Pasig City to Antipolo City.
On official record, Rodriguez explained that Pasig City continues to hold the distinction of being the capital city of Rizal although it had ceased to be part of the province when the late President Ferdinand E. Marcos signed Presidential Decree No. 824 placing Pasig and 10 other Rizal localities under Metro Manila territory.
“The unusual situation persists due to the lack of congressional action declaring the official capital of the province anywhere else within the province,” noted the authors of HB 3046.
A similar bill had been passed by the House of Representatives but was never enacted after Senate ran out of time in approving the measure.
In the explanatory note of the bill, the four lawmakers said provincial officials are strongly advocating swift passage of the measure.
In fact, the provincial board passed Resolution No. 146 in 2013 earnestly requesting the Lower House to declare Antipolo City as the capital of Rizal province.
“The bill seeks to realize said objective and finally put to rest the question on the official capital of the province of Rizal,” the four solons said.
Acop and Puno explained that Antipolo City has been chosen as Rizal’s capital as provincial leaders agree that it is the most prosperous among localities left in the Rizal territory.
Converted into a city in 1998 through Republic Act No. 8505, Antipolo City currently hosts the provincial capitol building that replaced the old capital in Pasig City.
“It is geographically located at the center of the province and is accessible by land from all directions. It is also host to a number of vital government facilities and installations,” authors of HB 3046 stressed.