Senators weigh in on plans to transfer office to Taguig

MANILA-- Senators had mixed feelings on plans to relocate its headquarters in Taguig City by 2020 which were presented in a Senate hearing on Wednesday.

During a hearing on the Senate's possible relocation, the Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) presented at least three sites - the Navy Village, the Diplomatic Consular area, and the BHIT Park area.

The Senate is currently using one of the buildings owned by the Government Services Insurance System (GSIS) in Pasay City.

Sen. Panfilo "Ping" Lacson said the relocation should push through since it was a plan introduced as far back as 16 years ago.

"If we don't talk about this now, it will only be talked about again in the next few years," Lacson told reporters in an interview.

"This is our opportunity because we have BCDA. The site is available. Why don't we just go for it? Right here, right now," he added.

Lacson said that among the locations, the Navy Village is the "most viable."

The costs of the said relocation have yet to be estimated, but Lacson said the Senate will be securing the assistance of the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) to manage its accounts.

He meanwhile expressed hope that construction could start by next year.

The Senate will also be forming a caucus. Lacson said that if majority of the senators will approve, construction of a new building will proceed.

In a separate interview, Senate Pres. Aquilino "Koko" Pimentel said that although he is thankful that his colleague is spearheading efforts to relocate, he still had reservations on the proposal.

"We have to meet in a caucus because I have reservations. After the change of the Constitution, I ask myself, how large can the Senate be?" Pimentel said.

Pimentel was referring to plans of the administration of Pres. Rodrigo Duterte to shift to a federal form of government. This in turn, could allow the number of senators to range to 48 to 72 members.

"Of course the membership influences the size of the structure and that influences the size of the lot. We have a long way to go but at least we have already started," he added. (PNA)

Source: Philippines News Agency

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