Mayor Binay says Makati City Hall 2 a world-class building
MANILA, Philippines – The new Makati City Hall II is not just a parking building but a “world-class” building that would benefit not only its employees, but also residents and clients of the city, Makati Mayor Jejomar Erwin “Junjun” Binay told a Senate hearing on Wednesday.
“Bago po ako magsimula, nais ko pong linawin at ulit-ulitin na ang nasabing proyekto ay hindi parking building o gusali para sa parking lamang. Ito ay office building ng Makati City Hall na may mga floors para sa mga sasakyan,” Binay said when he faced the Senate blue ribbon committee investigating the issue.
(Before I start, I want to clarify and reiterate that this project is not a mere parking building. It is an office building of the Makati City Hall with floors meant for parking.)
The Makati City Hall building 2, he said, has features similar to a “green building.”
“Mayroon itong landscaped na roof deck, atrium sa seventh floor, may L.E.D. lighting, glass walls at panels,” he said.
(It has a roof deck, an atrium on the seventh flood, L.E.D. lights, glass walls, and panals
“Mayroon din itong granite flooring, centralized air-conditioning, dalawang elevators, mga conference room at mini-function hall sa iba’t ibang palapag, at iba pang facilities at modern amenities na makikita sa isang modernong office building. Kumpleto po ang mga lamesa, silya, mga computers at ibang gamit pang-opisina. Lahat po yan ay kasama sa over-all cost ng Building 2.”
(It also has granite flooring, centralized air-conditioning, two elevators, conference rooms, and a mini function hall in every floor, and other facilities and modern amenities that can be seen in other modern office buildings. It is complete with tables, chairs, computers, and other office equipment. All of those are included on the over-all cost of Building 2.)
To ensure the strength and stability of the building, which stands on an area with soil type classified as “soft soil,” Binay said bored piles and steel sheet piling were used for its foundation.
“’Yan po ang Makati City Hall Building 2. Hindi po parking building, kundi isang office building. Para sa amin, hindi pwede and pwede lang. Ang ginawa po namin ay isang world-class building na pinakikinabangan ng mga taong gagamit nito: mga empleyado namin at ang libu-libong residente at kliyente ng Makati. Gusto namin ipakita na kaya ng Makati na maging globally competitive,” he pointed out.
(That is the Makati City Hall Building 2. It’s not a parking building, but an office building. We do not tolerate mediocrity. What we did was a world-class building that will benefit the people who will use it: our employees, thousands of residents and other clients of Makati. We want to show that Makati can be globally competitive.)
Atty. Renato Bondal, one of the complainants in the plunder and graft complaint filed against Binay and his father, Vice President Jejomar Binay, alleged that the P2.7 billion cost of the building was overpriced as it was pegged at P85,000 per square meter.
But Binay noted that his accuser used the data of the National Statistics Office when the latter claimed that the construction cost of the building should have been P7,000 per square meter.
“Mr. Chairman, the NSO is not the final arbiter on overpricing. This has been established by jurisprudence,” said the mayor.
“To prove overpricing, an actual canvass of similar items is needed. This was the ruling of the Supreme Court in Arriola vs. COA and National Mental Health Center vs. COA. This is also very clear in the guidelines of COA,” he said.
Binay said the 7,000 pesos per square meter construction cost cited by his accusers was an “approximate cost for a low-cost housing unit, not an office building.”
“It will also be inaccurate and erroneous to compare private buildings in Makati with the City Hall Building, or with other private buildings in the central business district, simply because building cost is determined among others by the type of building, the features of the building, and the type of soil on which the building is to be constructed,” he said.
He said that no less than the NSO had said that its records had restrictions and they do not include the construction cost. The NSO records, he said, were simply based on the application for building permits.
“Kung paniniwalaan po natin ang sinasabi ng aming mga katunggali na datos mula sa NSO ang basehan para sa overpricing, baka lahat ng gusaling itinayo ng national government at local government ay matatawag na overpriced,” Binay said.
(If we are to believe our accusers who use NSO data as the basis of overpricing, then it will turn out that all buildings constructed by the national and local governments can be called overpriced.)
“Hindi naman po siguro tama na sabihin nating overpriced ang bawat isang building na pinagawa ng gobyerno. Pero ‘yan po ang mangyayari kung paniniwalaan natin ang sinasabi po nila,” he said.
(It is probably not right for us to say that every building constructed by the government is overpriced. But that would be the case if we were to believe what they are saying.)
Binay said it was clear that the allegations against them were politically motivated, noting that Bondal, whom he defeated in the mayoralty race in 2013, belongs to the Nacionalista Party (NP) during the last elections.
Bondal’s running mate, on the other hand, was the Liberal Party’s (LP) bet during the last elections, said the mayor.
“Alyansa po ng NP at LP ang lumaban sa aming noong 2010 at 2013 election. Malinaw na pulitika lamang ang dahilan ng lahat ng akusasyong ito laban sa amin,” Binay added.
(The coalition of the NP and the LP was our opponent during the 2010 and 2013 elections. It is clear that these allegations are politically motivated.)
Senator Antonio Trillanes III, who initiated the investigation in the Senate, also belongs to the NP of former Senator Manny Villar.
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