Thursday, April 19, 2018

NHCP unveils Ilocos Norte Provincial Capitol marker

Staff reporter

LAOAG CITY—The National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP) unveiled a commemorative marker of the 100-year-old Ilocos Norte Capitol building to the public.

The marker recognizes the Capitol’s historical significance to the lives of the Ilokanos in this northern gateway of Luzon.

Builders completed the Ralph Harrington Doane-designed structure in 1925. Engr. Jose Paez, who became Public Works Director in 1919; and two more notable architects, Tomas Mapua and Antonio Toledo helped in the Capitol’s design.

The new and present-day Capitol was also one of two new provincial buildings that would stand as monuments of architectural beauty and models for other provinces, according to a 1917 Report of the Governor General of the Philippine Islands to the Secretary of War. The other was the Pangasinan Provincial Capitol.

During the time of the Japanese invaders, historians say then Ilocos Norte governor Roque B. Ablan Sr. left the Capitol and continued provincial government service in the mountainous village of Maananteng in Solsona, Ilocos Norte. The United States Army Forces in the Philippines recaptured the Capitol on February 13, 1945.

Major remodeling and expansion transformed the building in 1957, with the Corinthian columns and pediment featuring relief art by Ricarte Purugunan of Dingras. Former President Carlos P. Garcia was in attendance when Ilokanos inaugurated the building on December 27, 1958.

The Capitol compound underwent another major change in 2010, at the start of the administration of Ilocos Norte governor Ma. Imelda Josefa “Imee” R. Marcos. She ordered the walls enclosing the compound taken down, and the renovation of the front grounds to give the Capitol a more “park-like appearance”.

Attended by Philippine veterans, provincial and municipal officials, students, government and non-government organizations, the NHCP led by Chairman Rene Escalante turned over the marker on March 1, 2018 to the Ilocos Norte government, led by Ms. Marcos.

As a model of beauty and architecture in the entire province, Mr. Escalante hopes the people of Ilocos Norte will take good care of the historical marker and preserve it for future generations.

For her part, Ms. Marcos said the sturdy, old Capitol building of Ilocos Norte that has seen so many changes are testament to the remarkable history of the Ilokanos.

“I am certain that in the next 200 years, we add more to that history—glorious, triumphant, and truly united at last,” said Ms. Marcos citing the old building stand tall amidst all the difficulties and struggles because of the unity and heroic deeds of the Ilokanos.

As the historic Capitol building played an important role in the lives of the Ilokanos as well as other heritage buildings in other towns and cities here, Marcos urged all officials and residents to “start conserving and preserving these historical assets that are repositories of racial consciousness and identity”.

The Ilocos Norte Capitol’s centenary coincides with the province’s own bicentennial foundation celebration. Also, last September 2017, another NHCP installed another marker at the “Daytoy ti Bannawag” monument. (With a report from PGIN-CMO)

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