Rizal Rep. Fidel Nograles on Sunday welcomed the reversion of the municipality of Rodriguez to its old name, Montalban, after a measure he had filed lapsed into law.
“Finally, the decades-old confusion is now resolved. Republic Act No. 11812 now puts a stamp of authority on the widely accepted practice of calling our town Montalban, and ourselves, Montalbeños,” he cited.
House Bill 8899, which sought the renaming of Rodriguez to its original name of Montalban, lapsed into law on June 2, or exactly a month after the bill was transmitted to the office of President Rodrigo Duterte.
The town is the most populous in the country with a population of 443,954 based on the 2020 census.
Founded in 1909, its original name Montalban is derived from the Spanish word “monte” (mountain) in reference to the numerous hills found within and surrounding the town.
In 1982, the name of the town was changed to Rodriguez in honor of the late Senate President Eulogio “Amang” Rodriguez Sr., a native of the municipality.
The bill was among the first filed by Nograles during his term as congressman of the now-reapportioned second district, which he said was a response to a request from constituents.
According to Nograles, the town’s experience presents a case study to others regarding the renaming of places and landmarks.
“Legislating custom is tricky. We cannot force the people to accept the name we want to impose. This is about history,” he said.
He stressed the role of building consensus among stakeholders before embarking on such endeavors in the future, which he said “is, after all, the essence of governance.”