MANILA - The New Senate Building being constructed in Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City is on track and set to start partial operations in July 2024.
Senator Nancy Binay, chair of the Committee on Accounts and in charge of the coordination efforts of the construction, made the assurance during the New Senate Building's topping-off ceremony on Thursday.
A topping-off ceremony is done when the last beam (or its equivalent) is placed atop a structure during its construction.
"The topping-off ceremony is symbolic of our recovery from the pandemic. Tuloy-tuloy na ang pag-arangkada natin pagkatapos maantala dahil sa pandemya (Our development continues to accelerate after being slowed down by the pandemic)," Binay said.
The ceremony was also attended by Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri, Senate President Pro Tempore Loren Legarda, Senate Majority Leader Joel Villanueva, Senators Cynthia Villar, Joseph Victor Ejercito, Ronald Dela Rosa, and Christopher Lawrence Go.
Former Senate President Vicente Sotto III and former Senator and now House Deputy Speaker Ralph Recto were also present with other guests that included Department of Public Works and Highways Secretary Manuel Bonoan, Bases Conversion and Development Authority Chairperson Delfin Lorenzana, and Taguig Mayor Lani Cayetano.
Binay said as instructed by Zubiri, the opening of the regular session in the New Senate Building next year will push through.
She pointed out that the building will be one of the first green building-certified government facilities under the Philippine Green Building Council's Building for Ecologically Responsive Design Excellence Program.
"In the face of climate change the government should walk the talk in promoting the use of sustainable structures," she said.
By integrating sustainable features such as energy-efficient systems, water conservation measures, and the use of eco-friendly materials, the New Senate Building is also seen to consume between 30 to 50 percent less energy than standard buildings.
Its construction was initiated by the 17th Congress in 2017 after former Senator Ping Lacson, then-chair of the Committee on Accounts, called for the need to relocate to a new site for the Philippine Senate due to increasing space limitations and the need for enhanced facilities.
Lacson noted that the current Senate and its offices rent its building in Pasay City from the Government Service Insurance System while its parking lot was leased from the Social Security System, and has spent around PHP 2.24 billion in rental fees alone from May 1, 1996 to December 31, 2017. (PNA)