The Municipal Hall of Navotas, Rizal (December 18, 1965)
Navotas was originally a contiguous part of Malabon and was not separated from it by a body of water. However, sometime in the past, the turbulent waters of Manila Bay gradually eroded a weak strip of land between this town and the district of Tondo in Manila until an opening was breached. Seawater continued to flow in through this opening, particularly during high tide, and in the long run carved out the Navotas River in the process. The channel formed eventually developed into a regular waterway that has come to be known as the Navotas River. This natural phenomenon seemed to be the origin of the name that today is associated with this area, continually referred to as “nabutas” which over the time gradually evolved into “Navotas”, which literally means “pierced through” in the English language.
The original name bestowed to the place in its early history, when it was still part of Malabon, was San Jose de Navotas, in honor of its patron saint, San Jose. In 1827, the principales of San Jose de Navotas and Bangkulasi petitioned the Spanish government for the consolidation and separation of their barrios from Malabon, to form a new town. This action was precipitated by the difficulty encountered by the townsfolk of these two barrios in transacting business, and attending the church due to the physical separation brought by the Navotas River. The petition did not meet with success until three decades later when in February 16, 1859, as evidenced by existing documents; the barrios of San Jose de Navotas, and Bangkulasi, were separated from Malabon.
Eventually, the Royal Audiencia promulgated the “Superior Decreto” on June 11, 1859, which provided for the establishment of a new parish with a church and parochial school for the benefit of the town of Navotas and its barrios, at that time of which were comprised of San Jose, Tangos, Bangkulasi, and Tanza.
Navotas was incorporated into the newly created Province of Rizal on June 11, 1901 through the enactment of Philippine Commission Act No. 137. However, pursuant to its policy of economy and centralization, the Philippine Commission again merged Malabon and Navotas through Act No. 942, designating the seat of government to Malabon.
Years ago, the town of Navotas was not known by its present name for it was only considered as part of Malabon. The place appeared to be a long and narrow delta, with a thick line of pandan leaves which grew abundantly, extending from north to south along the seashore.
It was believed that long ago, the town was not entirely surrounded by water. Old folks assumed that the layer of land between the former district of Tondo, Manila and this town was probably soft and weak, such that the turbulent waters of the bay gradually eroded this portion of the land, until an opening was made. Soon, seawater began to flow through its opening especially during high tide. At low tide, the waters from inland flowed out into the sea. This geographical change prompted the people to refer to the place as “nabutas” which means breached or pierced through. This developed into a regular waterway, now known as the Navotas River. In later years, the whole place came to be known as Navotas.
The movement for a separate Navotas, which was by that time part of Tambobong, now Malabon, started on December 20, 1827 when the “principales” of the three barrios of San Jose, Navotas, and Bangkulasi, petitioned the Spanish Government to form a new town citing among others, the difficulty of the people to transact business and attend religious festivities of the mother town.
On October 31, 1832, the residents of the three barrios nominated Don Bernabe Francisco to represent them in their fight for separation from Malabon. But the petition of the principales of the three barrios was shelved by the government on September 19, 1855 pending the putting up by the people of Navotas of a church, convent, and a town hall that symbolized their sincerity.
In spite of the determined efforts of the principales, their petition was again disapproved on August 19, 1856. Instead of being discouraged, the successive rebuff only served to prod them to work harder.
Finally, a document dated February 16, 1859 recorded the separation of barrios San Jose, Navotas, and Bangkulasi from Malabon.
When the Philippine Revolution broke out in 1896, Navotas formally joined the revolutionary government of Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo on August 6, 1898.
On June 11, 1901, the town of Navotas was incorporated into the newly created province of Rizal by virtue of Philippine Commission Act No. 137.
In 1903, by virtue of the Philippine Commission Act No. 942, the municipalities of Malabon and Navotas were merged into one by which the former was chosen as the seat of government for economic and centralization purposes.
But then, Bernardo Dagala of Navotas fought for the separation of Navotas from Malabon. As a result, Navotas gained full independence as a distinct municipality through the enforcement of the Philippine Commission Act No. 142 last January 16, 1906.
On November 1975, in the exercise of emergency power during martial law of the late President Ferdinand E. Marcos, Presidential Decree No. 824 created the Metropolitan Manila Commission, which placed Navotas together with twelve (12) other municipalities of Rizal and the four (4) cities under its jurisdiction.
Navotas was proclaimed as a full-pledged city on June 24, 2007, upon obtaining 12,544 affirmative votes on a plebiscite. Navotas, together with the other fifteen (15) cities and one (1) municipality (Pateros) remain part of Metropolitan Manila, particularly of the National Capital Region (NCR). As mandated by the Local Government Code of 1991, this LGU is also guided by various devolved, deconcentrated and concerned National Government Agencies likewise encouraging the support and participation of the Non-Government Organization on its undertaking towards national development.