Binay surprised by Escudero’s halt on new Senate building

Cecille Suerte Felipe - Philstar.com
Binay surprised by Escudero�s halt on new Senate building
In this Facebook post on May 7, 2024 shows Sen. Nancy Binay.
Facebook / Nancy Binay

MANILA, Philippines — Sen. Nancy Binay expressed shock at Senate President (SP) Francis Escudero's decision to suspend the construction of the new Senate building.

“To be honest, I was also surprised where SP Escudero’s info came from with regard to the new Senate building,” she said.

“Sadly, if SP had the time to ask and learn about the construction developments, he would have been more enlightened and given inputs and suggestions on how to save more and not delay the transfer of the Senate to the new building,” she added.

Binay said that back in 2019, Escudero was an incumbent senator and part of the 17th Congress, and expressed belief that he had been made aware of the project costs.

She said that in February of that year, then Sen. Panfilo Lacson made it clear on the floor that the approved multi-year obligation authority for the new Senate building was P8.9 billion, which covers the “core and shell” of the four-tower edifice and that the interior and fit-outs are entirely separate.

“Let’s talk about parking – the new Senate building in Taguig has a three-level basement parking. It’s fake news that there is no parking,” the senator noted.

“During my watch as chair of the committee on accounts, we had sent official invitations to all senators for ocular inspections and one-on-one briefings about the progress, status, timelines and other matters with regard to the new Senate building,” she added.

Binay said she understands that Escudero meant well in reviewing the budget for the new Senate building, but the review should be hastened.

She said there is a sense of urgency to complete the construction by 2025, and delays would mean cost adjustments, additional charges, penalties and another round of rental.

“The Senate cannot afford any setback because each day of delay has cost implications. I agree with SP that we need to look for ways to bring the costs down,” Binay said. “If there are questions and some clarifications, or things that need to be verified or validated… I am just a call or text away.”

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