Senate puts on hold plan to look for permanent home (Feature)

February 24, 2014 7:54 am 

By Jelly F. Musico

MANILA, Feb. 23 (PNA) – The Senate has put on hold its previous plan to look for a permanent home.

”It was put on hold,” Senate President Franklin Drilon when asked about previous plan to move from Pasay City to Quezon City, home of the House of Representatives.

In 2012, Drilon was designated to head an ad hoc committee that would examine the possible transfer of the Senate from Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) building in Pasay City.

The initial talks suggested the-499 hectare campus of the University of the Philippines (UP) at Diliman in Quezon City as the possible site of new building for the upper chamber.

The plan of the Senate to move out of the GSIS building first came out in 2008 under a resolution filed by Miriam Defensor Santiago.

In 2009, former Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri proposed to transfer the Senate to the Film Center of the Philippines building instead of constructing new edifice which would cost government between P500 to P1 billion.

Several senators and employees opposed Zubiri's proposal not only due to structural defects but to rumors about the presence of ghosts in the Film Center building which only few meters away from GSIS.

Several proposals also cropped up including construction of new Senate building inside the Batasang Pambansa complex in Quezon City and transfer to Manila Central Post Office in Lawton, Manila.

Last year, the Senate occupied additional space to house the multi-purpose hall and office extensions of the senators near the session hall at the second floor of the GSIS building south wing.

Except for senator Loren Legarda who holds office at the second floor, the rest of the 24 senators occupy the fifth and sixth floors for the respective satellite offices.

The Philippine Congress occupied the Old Congress Building along P. Burgos St. in Manila from 1926 to 1945 with the Senate using the upper floors and the House occupying the lower floors.

When the Congress building was destroyed in World War II, the two houses of Congress moved at the Old Japanese Schoolhouse in Manila and returned to the Congress building after its renovation in 1950.

In 1972, former President Ferdinand Marcos dissolved Congress and built the Batasang Pambansa complex to house the unicameral parliament from 1978 to 1987.

After the ouster of Marcos in 1986, the bicameral legislature was restored in 1987 and the House inherited the Batansang Pambansa while the Senate returned to the Old Congress building.

In May 1997, the Senate transferred to the GSIS building and paying the government pension fund more than P100 million a year. (PNA)

CTB/JFM

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