Bye, Manila! What government offices will look like, where they will move

May 30, 2018 - 12:11 PM
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An artist's perspective of the planned New Clark City. (BCDA)

The Senate of the Philippines has drawn both cheers and jeers for its new building set to rise in Taguig in 2021. The Philippines’ upper chamber of congress however is not the only government body that has gone in search of a new home in recent years.

There have been a number of plans to transfer a number of government agencies from congested Manila with its poor urban layout other newly developed areas.

Supreme Court

The winning design for the new Supreme Court complex entered by architectural firm Mañosa & Company

In 2014, the Supreme Court announced its plan to move to Taguig.

The complex on Padre Faura that houses the Supreme Court, Court of Appeals, and Department of Justice belongs to the University of the Philippines.

The following year, the high court signed a P1.29-billion contract to sell with the Bases Conversion Development Authority for the 21,463-square meter property that was once the Philippine Army Security Escort Area.

In 2017, the Supreme Court en banc chose the design prepared by local architectural firm Mañosa & Company for its planned complex in Fort Bonifacio.

Completion of the project is eyed by 2019.

Senate

In May 2018, the Senate chose the design prepared by international urban planning firm AECOM for its envisioned site also in Fort Bonifacio.

Like the Supreme Court, the Senate has been sharing its complex with another government body. The Government Services Insurance System is housed in the same complex as the Senate in Pasay City.

Not all major institutions, however, are off to Taguig.

DOST, DENR etc.

The New Clark City complex being developed in Tarlac, though projected to be the new center of commerce in Luzon, is also slated to house a government center.

At least six government agencies are expected to move to the district upon its completion. Vivencio B. Dizon, president of the BCDA has not yet named the agencies.

New Clark City in Central Luzon is projected to be the new driver of growth in the region. (BCDA)

Among those previously tapped to relocate are the Departments of Science and Technology, Justice, Environment and Natural Resources, the Office of Civil Defense and the Climate Change Commission.

President Rodrigo Duterte is expected to release of a list of the agencies set to migrate to what has been billed as the country’s “new capital.”

Different reasons for relocation

For some, a new relocating to a new building may be a symbolic yet revitalizing act.

Each government agency has its reason for relocating.

Sen. Panfilo Lacson, chair of the committee on accounts in 2017 lamented the P110-million rent the Senate has to pay annually for having to share its compound with the GSIS.

He also spoke of his frustration with having to house foreign guests in the building, which supposedly had “stinky” toilets.

For the Supreme Court, its new home in Taguig will affirm its fiscal autonomy.

“We don’t have our own building. That’s the reason for the proposed transfer,” said spokesperson Theodore Te in 2014.

Associate Justice Estelita Perlas-Bernabe has cited curing congestion, addressing the inefficiencies of the Padre Faura complex, and allowing the hosting of legal conventions as those sought to be achieved with the relocation.

Meanwhile, the government district set to rise in New Clark City seeks to address the need for disaster resilience outside Metro Manila.

Patrick Nicholas David, president and chief executive officer of AlloyMTD, the construction firm tapped for New Clark City, also hopes for the “bringing together different government offices” despite the plan to decongest Metro Manila.

“Our vision is for us not to travel around Metro Manila traffic just to get our business done,” he said.