Press Release
May 20, 2009


Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago today renewed her call for a new Senate building. The Senate has been renting a building in Pasay City from the Government Services Insurance System (GSIS) since 1997.

"Even with the present global financial meltdown, it will be more cost-efficient for the Senate to have its own building than pay a whopping P8.3 million a month in rent to the GSIS," Santiago said.

Every month, the Senate pays the GSIS P7.8 million for the rent of the building, and P500,000 for the parking lot. This brings the total rent paid to the GSIS to P8.3 million a month or close to P100 million a year.

Last year, Santiago filed Resolution No. 640 creating an ad hoc committee to conduct a feasibility study on the cost efficiency of a new Senate building. She also filed Resolution No. 312 calling for a national competition for the architectural design of the proposed building.

Resolution No. 640 is currently pending with the Senate committee on accounts, while Resolution No. 312 is still with the committee on rules.

Earlier this morning, the Senate plenary hall in the second floor of the rented Senate building was flooded with water coming from the third floor comfort room.

"The plenary hall could not be used at all this morning," Santiago said. "The building is already very old, and not very well designed. It leaves a big carbon footprint."

Santiago said she wants a "green" Senate building. "The new Senate building must be eco-friendly and sustainable, while being representative of the Filipino heritage and spirit," she said.

The senator also said that the new Senate building should be able to accommodate the offices of 24 senators and their staff, the Senate secretariat, as well as the staff of 36 permanent committees and five oversight committees.

Due to the limited office space allotted for each senator in the present Senate building, many senators maintain satellite offices to accommodate their staff and their files. The Senate pays another P474,000 in monthly rental for these satellite offices.

"I have already discussed the matter with Senate President Enrile. I urged him to take immediate action on the resolutions I filed," Santiago said.

Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile promised to create an ad hoc committee on the proposed construction of a new Senate building. Under Senate Rules, the senate president has authority to create a new committee.

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