Arts & Culture

4 Things You Need to Know About the Batasang Pambansa

Learn more about this famous building's rich history

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Within an hour or so, Philippine president Rodrigo Duterte will be issuing his first State of the Nation address (SONA). Much has been discussed about this annual presidential address, as well as what most attendees are wearing. But little has been said about the grand building that has stood as silent witness to our leaders’ words—the Batasang Pambansa, which is the House of Representatives in Batasan Hills, Quezon City. Here are a few facts about this historic building:

1. It was designed (and re-designed) by three architects.

When Quezon City was named capital of the country in 1948, the government planned to build the nation’s Capitol on the former Constitution Hill, now Batasan Hills. Architect Federico Ilustre first laid out the master plans in 1956, but due to public demand, Anselmo Alquinto designed a new master plan to replace it. Construction of the building began in the early 1960s, but funds ran out and it was torn down.

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In 1973, under then-president Ferdinand Marcos, the constitution replaced the bicameral congress with a unicameral parliament called the Batasang Pambansa, thus needing a building to hold one legislative body. Marcos called upon architect Felipe Mendoza to design the current Batasang Pambansa and its entire complex. 

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