Majority of senators approve relocation of Senate to Bonifacio Global City
Fourteen senators voted on Tuesday to relocate the office of the Philippine Senate to Bonifacio Global City (BGC) in Taguig from its current location in Pasay City.
It was Senator Richard Gordon who recommended during plenary session that the new Senate be transferred to BGC.
Aside from Gordon, the 13 others senators who voted in favor of his motion were Senate President Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III, Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto, Majority Leader Vicente “Tito” Sotto III, Senators Sonny Angara, Nancy Binay, Sherwin Gatchalian, Panfilo Lacson, Manny Pacquiao, Grace Poe, Joel Villanueva and Juan Miguel Zubiri.
Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon was the only opposition member present who voted in favor of the motion.
Two of Drilon’s colleagues in the minority bloc — Senators Risa Hontiveros and Bam Aquino — voted against the relocation to BGC.
Hontiveros, in a text message after the voting, said she and Aquino voted against it because they wanted the new office to be relocated to Antipolo City.
The two locations— BGC and Antipolo City— were mentioned in the sponsorship speech of Lacson, who conducted hearings on the proposed relocation of the Senate office.
Lacson said the proposed timeline to construct a Senate building in Taguig could start on the third quarter of 2018 and be finished by the third quarter of 2020
“In this regard, part of my submitted individual amendments to the General Appropriations Bill now pending before this body is a P1.5-billion realignment as initial appropriation for a multi-year budget for the Senate relocation. I hope that the chair of the Finance Committee, the very gorgeous Sen. Loren Legarda, will accept my proposed amendment in this regard,” he said.
The proposed site in Taguig, Lacson said, 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, Taguig City.
Lacson noted that the Senate has been renting the use of its building from the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) and the use of parking lot from the Social Security System (SSS) here 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,” he said.
“Suffice it to say, Mr. President, that for over 20 years, the cost of our lease payments have probably become enough to construct an iconic, permanent Senate building,” the senator added. /ac, je
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