House spends P57M on renovations

By RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 18 2012 04:13 PM | Updated as of Jul 19 2012 12:13 AM

MANILA, Philippines - The House of Representatives spent P57 million for the expansion of the main plenary hall building to accommodate a bigger lounge, offices and meeting rooms for congressmen and their staff.

The 3-floor expansion at the backs of both the north and south wings was completed in 38 days in time for the opening of the 3rd regular session of the 15th Congress on July 23, 2012.

"This place gets filled up with people during session days. We wanted another place that can be used by various VIPs so we can keep south lounge as exclusive congressional place," Speaker Sonny Belmonte said.

He said the Batasan Pambansa building, a martial law era construction, will undergo electrical inspection after a spate of fires caused by faulty wiring.

The Speaker said they wanted to maintain the structural integrity of the building while maintaining its heritage.

Belmonte also justified the construction of new meeting rooms as venues for visiting foreign dignitaries instead of meeting visitors at restaurants or function venues outside the House.

The new structures will be used for the 1st time on Monday, the day President Aquino delivers his 3rd state of the nation address.

Meantime, Belmonte said he also expects President Aquino to took about other matters besides the plunder case of former President Arroyo and the impeachment of Chief Justice Renato Corona.