Pinoys question resolution to relocate House of Representatives in BGC

November 8, 2023 - 1:07 PM
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Undated file photo of the Batasang Pambansa Complex in Quezon City from the Philippine News Agency

The move to construct a new office building for the House of Representatives in Bonifacio Global City in Taguig City was met with concerns over its inaccessibility to the public.

Last October, some lawmakers filed a House resolution seeking to create an ad hoc committee “to conduct and study” the construction of a new building for them, citing the New Senate Building being built in the same city.

“The House of Representatives should likewise consider transferring to the same area, near the Senate, for better communication and coordination of legislative work,” the resolution reads.

“Both the House and Senate used to share space, before the war, in the Legislative Building, which was the origin of the term ‘upper house’ and ‘lower house’, where the Senate had its session hall at the second floor, while the House had its session hall on the ground floor,” it added.

This House bill was filed by Rep. Luis Raymund “LRay” Villafuerte Jr. of Camarines Sur, Rep. Aurelio “Dong” Gonzales, Jr. of Pampanga, and Rep. David “Jay-Jay” Suarez of Quezon City.

It was reported by news outlets on Tuesday, November 7.

The congressmen also cited the following key factors to be considered in the relocation:

  • Accessibility” of the House’s office to public transport for the legislators, employees and guests, including “buses, shuttles, the Metro Rail Transit (MRT) system, excellent connectivity to major thoroughfares, airports and other key areas in Metro Manila”
  • Proximity to other government agencies, local businesses and tech startups
  • Availability of the source of funds
  • To “be iconic and one that we can be proud of, a modern infrastructure that respects green spaces, vibrant, forward-thinking but still uniquely Filipino”

Questions, criticisms on social media

Several Filipinos speculated that the lawmakers eyed the relocation to Taguig to distance themselves from protests often held in the Batasang Pambansa Complex in Quezon City.

“Apparently, Senate and SC [Supreme Court] are also going to be at BGC… This is bad. They’ll be more isolated from the masses and won’t understand the suffering of the people. Difficult to reach by the people as well. Perhaps even deliberate distancing to make protests difficult,” law student Lance Trevore Cledera posted.

“Some lawmakers are seemingly wanting to make the congress halls even more inaccessible to most Filipinos and to the call for accountability, as their propositions and legislations became self-serving and treacherous,” wind engineer Joshua Agar commented.

Some X users also criticized the chosen location, citing the difficulty of commuting to BGC.

“Nagmention pa kayo ng MRT, eh di naman umaabot MRT sa BGC,” a Filipino user pointed out.

“[Do] they think they really did something there accessible to all? Nope, more like accessible to the elites,” an X user said.

“Oh wow, yet another symbol of how out of touch and elitist our government is,” another Filipino on the X app reacted.

In 2018, the High Court purchased a 21,463-square-meter property in Taguig where its new headquarters will rise.

It will be at the former Philippine Army Security Escort Group near the Venice Grand Canal Mall along Upper Mckinley Road.

Last July, a topping ceremony for the Senate’s soon-to-be new home was held, thus representing a milestone in the ongoing construction of the four-tower complex.

With an allotted P8.6-billion budget, it was designed by international firm Aecom Philippines, an international firm with clients in at least 150 countries.

It will be located at the Chino Roces Extension in the border of Taguig and Makati City.

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