MANILA, Philippines — A 25-hectare free land with no strings attached.
This is the offer of the local government of Antipolo City to the Senate of the Philippines, as the higher chamber of Congress deliberates on the perfect location for their permanent office.
The Senate is currently renting a GSIS-owned building in Pasay City.
Antipolo City Mayor Casimiro Ynares explained that placing the Senate in Antipolo City will help in decongesting traffic in Metro Manila, as compared to the possible situation if they push through with a potential location at Fort Bonifacio in Taguig.
“Ang mga negosyo ayaw po ng paminsan minsan ay may rally sa kanilang lugar. Nakakasira sa kanilang negosyo iyan. Pangalawa, you expose them to terrorism activities dahil nagiging target po ang Senado,” said Ynares as he cited reasons to move the Senate’s office to a different location. (Businessmen do not like it if there are occasional rallies in their area. It’s bad for business. Secondly, you expose them to terrorism activities when Senate becomes a target.)
“Dalhin natin sa Antipolo. Magkagulo man doon hindi po apektado ang ating GDP (gross domestic product) ,” he added. (Let’s bring [the office] to Antipolo. Even if trouble erupts there, our GDP will not be affected.)
The mayor allayed concerns of senators that Antipolo City is too far to travel.
He said it will only take 45 minutes to travel from Ortigas and NAIA to Antipolo traversing Marcos Highway.
It is also a 30-minute drive from Batasang Pambansa where the lower chamber, the House of Representatives is located.
The area is also surrounded with more than 600 residential subdivisions, and is also near business establishments and commercial hubs.
With a space as huge as 25 hectares, Ynares said senators can even build their individual headquarters, given that they will save up to P4-billion if they choose the Antipolo site.
“Ang proposal ko po, sa apat bilyon isama na po natin two billion, two thousand economic lots for employees. Iyong two billion na balanse magpagawa po ang 24 na senador na mansion; tig-iisa habang andoon sila sa Antipolo. At habang senador sila gamitin nila at kung di na sila senador yung susunod na senador ang gagamit,” proposed Ynares.
(My proposal, with P4-billion, you can have 2,000 economic lots for employees at P2-billion. The P2-billion balance can be used to build a mansion for each of the 24 senators while they’re staying in Antipolo. And when they’re no longer in service, the new batch of senators can use it.)
Ynares said if Senate will choose their site it will bring in more jobs in the area. It will also boost the income of commercial establishments and infrastructures will also be improved.
The proposal has been presented to the Senate and the higher chamber is still studying the matter along with the proposed Taguig site. – Joyce Balancio | UNTV News and Rescue