The new Bontoc Municipal Capitol makes every passer-by stop, look and admire the grand and elegant structure; at the same time take pictures, with the facade as the background. The name Municipal Capitol was adopted considering that it is situated in the capital town of the province and that it is a seat of government.
While there are no reference materials found by the writer of the exact date of construction of the first Bontoc Municipal Hall and the renovations that were done on the building, but it has been almost fifty years ago since the old Bontoc Town Hall was constructed.
A total makeover that of the old Bontoc Municipal Hall, the architectural structure and design of the Bontoc Municipal Capitol makes one, at first glance, say Wow! The exterior of the capitol is painted with nude color and the roof brown. Its façade roof is carved like that of a Bontoc old house, a large gong the height to a person is displayed on the stage, and a replica structure of an ato which represents the basic community of Bontoc is in place at the right entrance portion before reaching the Municipal Capitol grounds.
Portraits of former mayors and incumbent municipal officials are found on the walls; photos portraying the people of Bontoc and their life in the olden times are found on the halls and lobby of the municipal capitol; an artistic representation of sprouted beans at the alley; and artworks painted on empty walls make them more vibrant to the eyes.
The four-storey municipal capitol can now accommodate a larger number of offices, clients and visitors with wider rooms for executive offices, the legislative body, and other municipal offices. It has a separate civil wedding room, a multi-purpose hall at the top floor, and a parking area at the ground floor. Aside from this, it is also a client-friendly building with railings and a ramp, and a separate comfort room purposely for the Persons with Disability (PWDs), senior citizens and pregnant women.
In 2015, Bontoc Mayor Franklin Odsey, with the support of then Vice Mayor Peter Puma-at and Sangguniang Bayan members Eusebio Kabluyen, John Pelew, Alfredo Awichen, Alsannyster Patingan, Jerome Tudlong, Jr., Herman Farnican, Constancio Miranda and Wilbert Padngaran envisioned a municipal government building that would set it apart from the rest, with a unique design, but at the same time, affordable and within the capability of the Bontoc LGU to construct.
With the meager resources of the Bontoc Local Government Unit (LGU); it has to obtain a loan from the Land Bank of the Philippines to realize the architectural dream.
The construction of the Bontoc Municipal Capitol commenced with the Phase I of the project starting with the demolition of the main building of the old Bontoc Municipal Hall on June 21, 2015. Phase I of the project costing P73,549,703.37 covered the demolition of the main building, laying the foundation of the building, construction of the new main building of the Bontoc Municipal Capitol, lower ground floor, upper ground floor (1st Floor), 2nd Floor and doors.
Phase II of the project with the Revised Contract Amount of P74,997, 412.05 as of April 4, 2019, started on July 27, 2017. It covers the demolition of the Left and Right Wings of the old building, construction of the new Left and Right Wings, finishing from the ground floor to the 4th Floor, roofing and the façade of the Bontoc Municipal Capitol.
Phase III with an approved project cost of P7, 827, 470. 99 started on November 16, 2018, and is expected to be finished on May 25, 2019. However, the funding was not sourced out from the Land Bank loan but from the 20% Municipal Development Fund amounting to P4,948,218.53 and Non-Office Fund amounting to P2,881,781.42. Phase III covers composite columns of the 3rd Floor (Left and Ring Wings),
The iconic Bontoc Municipal Capitol was blessed and inaugurated on September 12, 2018, coinciding with the week-long celebration of the 110th Bontoc Foundation Day and 14th Am-among Festival in September 2018.
Former mayors of the capital town have also expressed their appreciation in the construction of the Bontoc Municipal Capitol with the workmanship credited to the AIP Construction.
Former Mayor Louis Claver, Jr., (1980 to 1988 and 2001 to 2004), in his message delivered by son Councilor and Ex-Officio Sangguniang Panlalawigan member Alexandre Claver said that he is one with the people of Bontoc in celebrating the occasion. Further, he encouraged everyone to support the present administration in the improvement not only of the municipal building but in the development of the community and the lives of constituents.
Former Mayor David Yawan (1992 to 1998) stated that the inauguration and blessing of the municipal capitol are more than enough reason for the people of Bontoc to rejoice as it is a manifestation of progress. He also added that although he and other former mayors were desirous of building a capitol such as what Bontoc has now, it is great that the idea’s time has now come.
Similarly, Former Mayor Pascual A. Sacgaca (2010 to 2013) commended the officials for this undertaking. He added that this new workplace would surely motivate employees to render the best public service.
Mountain Province Legislative Caretaker Allen Jesse C. Mangaoang who graced the blessing and inauguration remarked that the new municipal capitol will not only cater to the people of Bontoc, but to visitors and tourists who will visit the capital town.
“Therefore, let us open the gates of this capitol not only to every i-fontok or i-Montayosa but more importantly, to every client and visitor in need of our assistance and hospitality,” Mangaoang said.
Truly, since the Bontoc Municipal Capitol was opened to the public, it has become a tourist attraction. Tourists, even motorbike riders could not resist to stop by and take a groupie or selfie with the big gong and the building as the background.
As he expressed happiness that the municipal government has gotten the right people for the project, Mangaoang urged the people of Bontoc to take part in the social responsibility of maintaining, caring and protecting it.
He likewise commended the officials in the capital town in working together for the good of the people.
“At the end of the day, it is still human spirit that is most important. Money can improve a municipality’s physical environment, but it cannot buy the vision and passion that will ensure the continued development of Bontoc. Let us acknowledge the hard work of our leaders and every person who was instrumental and whose goodwill and industry has helped the town flourish despite many constraints,” Mangaoang highlighted.
There is no doubt that the Bontoc Municipal Capitol was nominated as the 2018 Government Building of the year in a regional newspaper that has the widest circulation in the Cordillera region.
The municipal capitol is a legacy of the leaders of the capital town under the leadership of Mayor Odsey. This undertaking materialized because of the positive collaboration of the executive and legislative branches, and the support of the Bontoc community to the present administration.
The construction of Bontoc Municipal Capitol that met the quality standard even of the keen eyes of critics clearly manifests how Bontoc ay Kalalaychan is moving forward for progress and prosperity.
Source of Information: Engr. II Edmarie A. Kitongan, Municipal Engineer’s Office