Capas the next city in Tarlac

CREATED IN 1710, Capas is among the oldest towns of Tarlac together with Bamban(1710), Paniqui (1574) and Tarlac (1686). Its creation was justified by numerous settlementswhich were already established in the river banks of Cutcut River since the advent of the18th century.

Historical records suggest three versions on how Capas got its name. The first version, astold, was originated from capas-capas, the “edible flower” similar to that of the caturay or themelaguas that abundantly grew along the Cutcut river banks. The second version, accordingly,was adapted from a “cotton tree” called capas, in Aeta dialect. The third version suggested that it was derived from the first three letters of the surnames of the town’s early settlers, namely:Capitulo, Capitly, Capiendo, Capuno, Caponga, Capingian, Caparas, Capera, Capunpue, Capit,Capil, Capunfuerza, Capunpun, Caputol, Capul and Capan. Assertively, they were called “caps”or “capas” in the local language.

The Aetas were the first inhabitants of Capas, today it is inhabited by people of different ethnic groupings Pampangos, Ilocanos, Pangasinenses and Tagalogs. One percent are Bicolanos and Visayans.

Capas is a first class municipality. It occupies a total land area of 43,148.55 hectares and one of the richest towns in the province of Tarlac. The numerous subdivisions and executive villages in this burgeoning town have made Capas an ideal dwelling for a large number of professionals and skilled workers employed in government agencies and corporate offices in Central Luzon. It is one of the favorite tourist destinations because of the beautiful Mt. Pinatubo crater; also known for Tinapang Talaga; and marked by the gigantic Shrine Obelisk. Once known in history as the site of the infamous Death March Concentration Camp during World War II, the Municipality of Capas now is a picture of affluence as it is a gracious host to several multi-billion pesos establishments like the New Clark City, the Athletic Village, and the new government action center. Its strategic location has made international and local travels more accessible as the four-lane 93.77 kilometers expressway north of Manila more popularly known as the Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway (SCTEX) passes through this progressive town, which is also one of the gateways to Clark Freeport Zone and Clark International Airport.

Capas has 20 barangays with a total population of 135,735, with a household population of 27,147 (NSO 2012, unofficial) at 3.55 annual growth rate. The population of Capas town has grown tremendously over the years due to heavy migration from nearby municipalities and neighboring provinces in Central Luzon. Its proximity to commercial centers in the provinces of Pampanga and Tarlac has also attracted thousands of individuals and industrial firms in the regional area. The student population in Capas has also increased by leaps and bounds and they can now acquire good quality education from the existing public and private schools and educational institutions offering pre-elementary, elementary, secondary, vocational, collegiate and graduate courses.

The municipality is predominantly an agricultural town despite the fast pace of urbanization. The total productive agricultural area devoted to crops is 9,567 has. This is 30.28% of the total land area. Secondary agricultural crops include corn, root crops and vegetables which are planted extensively on an intercropping basis in between rice planting and harvesting.

This phenomenon has dramatically changed the life and culture in Capas. It is no longer the Capas of rustic and rural character but a Capas that has all the amenities of a highly urbanized city bustling with industrial and commercial establishments which can be found in other modern cities in the Philippines today. It is now being dubbed as the “Tourism and Agro-Industrial Capital of the Province of Tarlac.”

Having all the amenities of a cosmopolitan living has however put tremendous pressure in the municipal government of Capas to deliver basic services not only to make every family living in Capas enjoy a good quality of life but also to thousands of transients and visitors to have a safe and pleasant stay in this burgeoning municipality. It has become imperative therefore for Capas to generate as much resources it urgently needs to be able to fund every activity, project or program that will redound to the benefit of its own population.

The conversion of the municipality of Capas into a component city and the accruing benefits from such conversion will certainly enable the local government to effectively and adequately respond to the requirement of Capas residents. With more resources in a city, the local government’s capability to sustain its momentum for growth and progress will be enhanced.

Rep. Noel Villanueva, 3D-Tarlac, author of House Bill No. 7861 otherwise known as the “Charter of the City of Capas” filed last October 12, 2020, said this bill is a concrete gesture to the growing clamor of the people and officials of the municipal government of Capas and to the favorable endorsement made by the Sangguniang Panlalawigan of the province of Tarlac through SP Resolution No. 195-2020.

Capas shall acquire corporate existence upon the ratification of its creation by a majority of the votes cast by the qualified voters in a plebiscite to be conducted in the present Municipality of Capas within 90 days from the date of approval. The Commission on Elections shall conduct and supervise such plebiscite while the Municipality of Capas shall bear the expenses and will continue to be under the jurisdiction of the province of Tarlac unless otherwise provided by law.

No increase in the rates of local taxes shall be imposed within the period of five years from its acquisition of corporate existence and until otherwise provided by law the city of Capas shall continue to be part of the third legislative district of Tarlac.