Hosting Senate our idea–UP execsBy Julie M. Aurelio
Philippine Daily Inquirer
According to Diliman chancellor Dr. Caesar Saloma, the idea came up after he and UP president Alfredo Pascual went over two versions of a land use plan for the campus.
“The UP president and the UP Diliman chancellor agreed after closely studying the implementation of the 1994 UP Diliman land use plan and its 2012 version to request the Philippine Senate to consider locating its future building on the 493-hectare UP Diliman campus,” the official said in an e-mailed reply to the Inquirer’s query.
Sometime in March and May of this year, Saloma said he wrote to the Senate, with clearance from Pascual, “about the possibility.”
The letters were addressed to Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile through Sen. Franklin Drilon who chairs the ad hoc committee on the Senate transfer.
Other members are Senators Pia Cayetano and Ferdinand Marcos Jr. and Senate secretary Emma Lirio-Reyes.
The UP Diliman chancellor said that he met on June 28 with the ad hoc committee “to discuss the possibility.”
“The possibility of locating the new Senate building on UP Diliman land is still in its early exploratory stage at this point. The necessary details have not been ironed out,” Saloma said.
He said the 2012 UP Diliman land use plan designates the utilization of campus lands. Infrastructure development shall adhere to this land use plan.
The Diliman campus is just one of the options for the Senate’s new home. The ad hoc committee is also considering other sites.
In a previous interview, Dr. Prospero de Vera, UP’s vice president for public affairs, said a five-hectare lot behind the Philippine Coconut Authority building near the Arboretum and the Petron gasoline station along Commonwealth Ave. was being eyed as a feasible venue.
De Vera said UP Diliman officials had met once with some senators to formally discuss the proposed transfer of the Senate, which is currently located in Pasay City.
The ball is now in the Senate’s court, UP officials said.
According to Saloma, a Diliman home for the Senate would not disturb the academic activities on the UP Diliman campus.
“Definitely, the Senate building will be located at the periphery and not in the academic core,” he said.
The official noted that the Senate was currently renting its Pasay City offices for P110 million.
“The Senate deserves its own permanent place,” Saloma said.
He added that the new Senate building would be a chance to showcase Filipino culture, heritage and technical expertise.
Asked if the proposed move to UP Diliman would mean a better budget allocation to the national university, Saloma said the UP should establish an “enduring and mutually beneficial partnership” with the Senate so that both would be able to bring “genuine and lasting prosperity to our country.”