Puerto Rico's governor has confirmed that his administration recently pursued a proposal to request that the U.S. Congress allow the island's heavily indebted government to declare bankruptcy amid an economic crisis.

Wednesday's acknowledgement by Gov. Alejandro Garcia Padilla comes as the U.S. territory struggles with $72 billion in public debt amid a nearly decade-long economic slump.

Garcia said he has since rejected the proposal in favor of the current push to get rules that would allow only Puerto Rico's public agencies and municipalities to file for bankruptcy under Chapter 9. A U.S. House committee is studying the issue amid growing concerns about the government's ability to repay its debt.

Garcia said that declaring complete bankruptcy for the whole island government would not have been good for Puerto Rico.