Senate okays transfer to BGC by 2020

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Voting 14-2, the Senate on Tuesday agreed to move out the GSIS Building Financial Center in Pasay City to Taguig City.

The 14 senators who voted for the resolution are Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III, Senate Majority Leader Vicente Sotto III, Senate Minority Leader Frank Drilon, Senate President Pro-Tempore Ralph Recto, senators Juan Edgardo Angara, Nancy Binay, Joseph Victor Ejercito, Sherwin Gatchalian, Richard Gordon, Panfilo Lacson, Manny Pacquiao, Grace Poe, Joel Villanueva, and Juan Miguel Zubiri.

Meanwhile, the two senators who voted against the resolution are senators Paolo Benigno Aquino IV and Risa Hontiveros.

Senators took a vote after Lacson, chair of the Senate Committee on Accounts sponsored Senate Resolution 293 or “the resolution creating an ad hoc committee tasked to conduct a feasibility study on the construction of a new Senate building and relocation of the Senate thereto” filed by Gatchalian.

In his sponsorship speech, Lacson described the costs of lease being paid by the government over the years in renting the Senate building and its parking lot as “staggering.”

Citing data, Lacson said that from May 1, 1996 to December 31, 2017, the total amount of office rental fees paid to GSIS and Social Security System (SSS) have reached PHP 2.24 billion.

“For over 20 years, the cost of our lease payments have probably become enough to construct an iconic, permanent Senate building,” Lacson said.

The Senate has been renting the GSIS building and parking lot since 1996.

Before the Senate voted to transfer to Taguig, Antipolo City was also being eyed as a potential relocation site.

According to Lacson, the possible site in Taguig 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.

He further said that the total cost of acquiring the 20,000-square-meter property being offered by the BCDA will be PHP 1.8 billion, which would be payable in 10, possibly more years. (Azer Parrocha/PNA)

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