MAJORITY of senators voted to allot an initial P1.5-billion budget to construct a new “iconic” Senate building on a two-hectare Navy village in Fort Bonifacio in Taguig City.
Sen. Panfilo Lacson, chairman of the Committee on Accounts, reported on the floor Resolution 293 creating an ad hoc committee tasked to conduct a feasibility study on the construction of a new Senate building and relocation filed by Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian.
The Senate has been renting its building from the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) and the use of the parking lot from the Social Security System (SSS) in Pasay City since 1996.
“Upon checking the figures, we found out that from May 1, 1996 to December 31, 2017, the total amount of office rental fees paid to GSIS and SSS have reached P2.24 billion,” Lacson said.
“Suffice it to say that for over 20 years, the cost of our lease payments have probably become enough to construct an iconic, permanent Senate building,” he said.
Lacson added: “It is about time that we turn this long-standing dream into reality. If we do not take action now, I am afraid that there will only be talks and talks, again and again, about this matter in the future till kingdom come. And I tell you, it will be a never-ending comic cycle.”
Fourteen senators voted to approve the motion of Sen. Richard Gordon to transfer the Senate to Taguig City while Senators Risa Hontiveros and Paolo Benigno Aquino 4th chose the other proposed site: a 25-hectare lot in Antipolo City which Mayor Casimiro Ynares 3rd offered “for free.”
The proposed new site in Taguig City is situated in a 20,000-square-meter or two-hectare parcel of land owned by the Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) located at the former Navy Village, Fort Bonifacio.
The agreement being proposed by the BCDA is in the nature of an Option Contract.
The 14 senators who wanted to transfer to Taguig City were: Juan Edgardo Angara, Nancy Binay, Franklin Drilon, Joseph Victor Ejercito, Emmanuel Pacquiao, Aquilino Pimentel 3rd, Grace Poe, Ralph Recto, Vicente Sotto 3rd, Joel Villanueva, Juan Miguel Zubiri, Gatchalian, Gordon, and Lacson.