Senate goes to BGC: New building design rouses mixed reactions, plus jokes
The Senate released last Monday, May 28, the design of its new building, to be constructed in Fort Bonifacio, Taguig.
According to Senator Panfilo Lacson, the winning design from American engineering firm AECOM was based on the criteria of being “green, secure, functional and iconic.” The Senate is set to move in to its new permanent home by 2021.
Senator Win Gatchalian posted a picture of the model of the future Senate building on his social media accounts, garnering mixed reactions.
Some were in awe of the “world-class” modern design while others were unimpressed — not necessarily by the building’s look, but rather on how taxpayer money was being used.
There were those who wondered why majority of the Senate chose to relocate in the two-hectare Bonifacio Global City (BGC) land rather than Antipolo, which offered land acquisition at no cost and was a sprawling 25 hectares.
In BGC, the land is owned by the Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) at the former Navy Village, Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City, and its cost is pegged at P1.8 billion.
Twitter user @romhotsauce pointed out the irony that senators have been pushing for development outside of Metro Manila, only to choose the swanky BGC for its residence.
Only senators Risa Hontiveros and Bam Aquino voted for the Antipolo lot, while an overwhelming 14 senators voted for BGC.
“Baka daw kasi walang Starbucks sa Antipolo (Maybe it’s because there’s no Starbucks in Antipolo),” netizen @yangsmind suggested.
Another theory for the choice of the new location over Antipolo was offered by netizen @jasongllrgn_: “Baka daw kasi di makahabol sa ‘Eat Bulaga’ si Tito Sen. Charot (Maybe it’s because Tito Sotto might not be able to make it to ‘Eat Bulaga.’ Just kidding).”
Senate President Vicente “Tito” Sotto III has earlier stated that he would temporarily leave the noontime variety show “Eat Bulaga” given his new role. Since 2010, Sotto has juggled his political responsibilities while hosting the show from Thursday to Saturday, when senate sessions are in recess.
“Ewew bagong building eh magbagong-buhay muna kaya kayo (Wow, new building; change yourselves first),” said another netizen, designer Raxenne Dosher (@raxenne).
Others were more straightforward with their opinions. “Such a waste of our money. Rather than spend on a lavish building for Senators, why don’t you redirect that budget to improve gov’t school and hospital buildings,” said one NAD (@nad0227).
“Better yet, spend it to improve the conditions of PH prisons and jails. Who knows, you might benefit from it someday,” he added.
There were also some who questioned the design. Architecture student Jessica Perfecto (@jessperfecto) said, “I think the Philippines deserves iconic and beautiful national buildings. No doubt about it. But the execution is so massive and alienating. Asan yung puso (Where is the humanity in it)? Seems like the building serves the people working in it rather than the people they’re working for.”
Athan (@lakathan) noted an uncanny resemblance to a real-life object: wastepaper baskets. “Inspired by,” the netizen said, putting a picture of the building model and a picture of four bins side by side.
“Hindi ko nilalait yung design. Ang hirap kayang mag drawing. Ang perfect lang kasi na katulad nung sa trash bin yung design. Basura kasi yung mga nasa Senado,” he said.
(I’m not criticizing the design. It’s so hard to draw. It’s perfect that the design resembles a trash bin. Those in the Senate are trash.)
Lacson said that the new complex will be “a landmark for the Filipino people, and a design that can take the Senate of the Philippines to the next 100 more years and beyond.”
AECOM’s pitch states that the complex is inspired by the sun in the Philippine flag with a facade modeled after the Barong Tagalog.
The four buildings supposedly represent the four pillars of democracy: justice, equality, freedom and representation. However, the fourth pillar is commonly known as the press.
The Senate is currently renting space at the Government Service Insurance System complex in Pasay City for a staggering P127 million annually. The relocation of the Senate building “is a 17-year-old idea,” Lacson said last November 2017. JB
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