Senators to use renovated lounge at House for SONABy Karen Boncocan
MANILA, Philippines — Senators will have first dibs on the newly renovated lounge at the north wing building of the House of Representatives when President Benigno Aquino III gives his third State of the Nation Address.
Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. said that they were looking for a place for VIPs visiting the House when they decided to have the lounge renovated.
“We wanted another place which VIPs can use to keep the south lounge as an exclusive congressional (area),” he told reporters in a chance interview at the lounge.
Belmonte also saw the renovated lounge as a location spacious enough for meeting visitors without having to take them to a private restaurant outside of the House of Representatives.
He said that renovations on three floors at the north wing, which cost P57 million to finish, will give room for the minority bloc, secretariat services and other offices.
To ensure that the building was safe before SONA, Belmonte said they commissioned teams from the Quezon City Building Office as well as the Quezon City Fire Department to inspect the premises.
He explained that they sought to ensure that the House of Representatives, a heritage building which dates back to the martial law period, was not only safe for SONA but also well preserved.
An Waray Representative Florencio Noel, chairman of the House committee on accounts, said that funds for the renovations came from their 2011 capital outlay and went through a bidding process.