‘Antipolo na!’



Dr. Jun Ynares

Dr. Jun Ynares

“What do you mean Antipolo is not the capital of Rizal province?”

That was the typical reaction generated by a recent piece of news which appeared in media several days ago. The news was that a bill in Congress has been approved. The proposed piece of legislation is House Bill 2988 and its principal author is Antipolo City Rep. and Deputy Speaker Roberto “Robbie” Puno.

According to the news item, Congressman Robbie’s bill will formally and officially name the City of Antipolo “as the rightful capital and seat of government of Rizal province.”

There were many who reacted to that news with surprise. “What?” they said, “You mean to say Antipolo is not the capital of Rizal?”

Technically and legally, it is not. That distinction still belongs to Pasig City. It will be recalled that Pasig was one of the 29 towns included in the province of Rizal when it was created in 1901. Congressman Robbie noted that “it has been 44 years since Pasig has ceased to be part of Rizal province”. It was among the several towns and cities taken out of Rizal’s jurisdiction in 1975 and made part of the entity called Metro Manila.

In practice and reality, though, Antipolo has been living up to the role of provincial capital and seat of government for more than 10 years now. That was when a new provincial capitol building was built in Antipolo. The inauguration of the new capitol in March 4, 2009. signaled the start of the recognition of the city as the de facto capital of the province of Rizal.

Rizaleños are grateful to Congressman Robbie and to Congressman Noel Villanueva of Tarlac for spearheading the initiative in Congress for Antipolo City to be officially and formally designated as the capital of Rizal province.

With the approval of House Bill 2988 by Congress in plenary, that official designation is near the horizon.

It could not have come at a better time.

Just recently, Antipolo City garnered several distinctions.

It has just been named the country’s Overall Most Competitive Component City following the annual search for outstanding local governments by the Department of Trade and Industry.

In this search, Antipolo got the top award for the second time. For the 2019 search, Antipolo City topped several categories: first in the government efficiency and resiliency pillars, second in the infrastructure pillar, and seventh in the economic dynamism pillar.

The award as the country’s Most Competitive Component City recognizes Antipolo City’s ability to attract investment and talents.

By topping the Government Efficiency Pillar, the reliability and quality of the city government’s “support for effective and sustainable expansion, and absence of corruption” was recognized.

In recognizing its Resiliency, the awards-giving body recognized the ability of Antipolo’s people, households, communities, and systems to mitigate, adapt to, and recover from shocks and stresses and manner that reduces chronic vulnerability and facilitates inclusive growth”.

Earlier, the Department of Interior and Local Government also awarded Antipolo City the Seal of Good local Governance.

According to the DILG, the Seal of Good Local Governance (SGLG) originated from the Seal of Good Housekeeping (SGH).  It explained that the seal symbolizes integrity and good performance of local governments.  It is a continuing challenge for provincial, city, and municipal governments to do better today and in the years to come.

“It is the department’s response to the clamor of the people for integrity and performance in public service,” the DILG said.  “The SGLG therefore challenges local governments to continue good governance practices while providing better public services,” it added.

Also just recently, the city was also recognized as the country’s Top Most Business Friendly Component City. This was given during the 45th Philippine Business Conference. President Rodrigo Roa Duterte himself presented the award.

The award is given by the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry. It recognizes the adherence of local governments to the principles and advocacy embodied in the law on Ease of Doing Business.

Antipolo’s recent feat are reflection of the very same recognition garnered by the province of Rizal.

The province has also been named the country’s Most Competitive Province for the fourth consecutive year. It has also received its 2019 Seal of Good Governance, together with the Rizal towns of Binangonan, Angono, Taytay, and Tanay.

The province is, without doubt, at the top of its class.

Antipolo City – the future official capital of the province – can be no less.

*For feedback, please email it to antipolocitygov@gmail.com or send it to #4 Horse Shoe Drive, Beverly Hills Subdivision, Bgy. Beverly Hills, Antipolo City, Rizal.