Senate eyes construction of ‘iconic’ building

Marvin Sy - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - When the Senate eventually transfers to a new building of its own, it would not be just another boring structure, but one that is iconic and recognized around the world, Sen. Panfilo Lacson said yesterday.

Lacson, chairman of the Senate’s committee on accounts, was tasked to handle the proposed new building for the Senate.

He said he has had enough of the embarrassment of having to host foreign guests at the current Senate building, which is located at the compound of the Government Service Insurance System in Pasay City.

“It’s about time that we transfer. Because when we invite parliamentarians from other countries, we feel embarrassed. To top it off, they even have to use our stinky toilets here,” Lacson said in Filipino.

He said the Philippine Senate could be the only Senate that is paying rent. At P127 to P129 million per year, the rent is significant, he added.

Lacson said he wants the new Senate building to be iconic, much like the Sydney Opera House in Australia or the Eiffel Tower in France.

Lacson said that there is a plan to launch a competition among the top architects of the world to design the proposed new Senate building. 

At the moment, Lacson said that the Senate is studying two options for the location of the new building: either at Fort Bonifacio in Taguig City or Antipolo City.

While it would be cheaper for the Senate to relocate in Antipolo City, Lacson said that there are concerns about the 25-hectare property being raw land or undeveloped.

He said Senate employees also prefer Taguig. 

Lacson said while the Senate would be able to acquire the Taguig property for way below its current market value, the cost would still be steep.

He said the House of Representatives could provide the solution if it also transfers to the Taguig property and sell or lease out the Batasan Pambansa complex in Quezon City. 

“Maybe we can piggyback on them and what would be constructed is the Congress of the Philippines and not just the Senate or the House. We are studying this right now,” Lacson said.

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