Lacson defends Senate plan to build P5-B structure in BGC

Published June 5, 2018, 3:16 PM

by Patrick Garcia

By Mario Casayuran

Sen. Panfilo M. Lacson defended on Tuesday the Senate’s decision to build its own multi-billion-peso building at the Bonifacio Global City (BGC) in Taguig city from attacks mounted by a former Malacanang official during the Arroyo administration.

Senator Panfilo Lacson during the hearing of the Blue Ribbon committee on the nabbed P6.4 billion worth of shabu shipment from China, at the Senate of the Philippines in Pasay on Monday. (JAY GANZON / MAN ILA BULLETIN)
Senator Panfilo Lacson

Lascon said the Senate has no building of its own and has been a tenant at the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) complex in Pasay city the past 21

The Senate has been paying an annual rent of P127 million since it vacated its offices at the now Philippine Museum building beside Manila City Hall in 1977. This means a total of P2.667 billion in rental paid to the GSIS.

Lacson, chairman of the Senate accounts committee, has been tasked by his colleagues to find a place for a new Senate building and enter into an architectural and construction agreement for the new Senate edifice.

With the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) as partner, the Senate held a contest where about 50 international and local architectural firms submitted their plans.

AECOM, a Los Angeles-based architectural firm, won the contest. It will help build the six-story iconic structure with an estimated cost of P4.58 billion.

The new Senate building will be constructed at an almost two-hectare lot bought from the Bases Conversion Development Authority (BCDA).

Construction will start in January, 2019 until December 2020.

Lacson, chairman of the Senate public order and illegal drugs committee, issued the statement following a critical column of Rigoberto Tiglao, a former Malacanang spokesman, that the Senate engaged in an expensive project.

Tiglao stressed that the supposed P10 billion cost of the new Senate building should instead be used to fortify the contested islands, reefs and islets in the West Philippine Sea (WPS), start of the mothballed Bataan nuclear power plant, or for scholarships, construction of more hospitals and rehabilitation of Metro Manila’s light rail systems.

Lacson said Tiglao’s P10 billion estimate is wrong because the Senate has set aside P5 billion only.

He said the transfer project was given to him by his colleagues and that they alone could stop him from pursuing his assigned task.