July 27th, 2011
Leyte Samar Daily Express
PALO, Leyte – This town is ready to become the new provincial capital of the province, according to its local chief executive.
Mayor Remedios “Matin’ Petilla said Palo is strategically located and is an ideal place to become the next capital of Leyte.
“We are accepting that challenge. Palo is more than ready to become a provincial capital. In fact, Palo is already touted as the regional capital being he host to various regional and provincial government agencies located at the Government Center,” Mayor Petilla said in a press conference on Monday.
“But it will be up to the provincial officials if they will decide to transfer the administrative seat of the province,” Petilla said.
Tacloban, the provincial capital of Leyte has been converted into a highly-urbanized city in 2008 and is no longer under the administrative jurisdiction of Leyte.
“Palo may still not qualify to become a city but it can qualify as provincial capital. Actually, Palo is already growing. In fact, the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) has already visited a site in Barangay Pawing for its initial accreditation to become a PEZA accredited facility,” Petilla said.
The lady mayor admitted the proposal to make Palo as the new provincial capital would entail a long process but said it is a good idea to transfer the provincial capital to boost the development of Leyte.
“It is time for the province to choose a new seat of power. Tacloban is already a highly urbanized city and is already administratively independent from the province,” she added.
“But the decision is still in the hands of the provincial officials particularly the governor and the members of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan,” she said.
She added Palo used to be a capital town of Leyte before Tacloban.
Historically, the capital site of Leyte changed several times before Tacloban City became the permanent capital in 1830. The first capital was Carigara, then successively, Palo and Tanauan.
The decision to make Tacloban as the capital was because of its ideal location of port and well-sheltered and adequate facilities.
But with Tacloban’s joining in the elite roster of highly urbanized cities two years ago, Leyte lost its administrative control over the former component city.
Aside from Palo, observers are also looking at the possibility of transferring the provincial seat to Baybay City, located some 130 kilometers south of Tacloban City. (REYAN L. ARINTO)
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