and while we're at it...

While we consider constitutional changes to the form of our legislature (and I won't argue the rightness or wrongness of cha-cha and con-ass), may I suggest some critical design and spatial changes, too?

  1. Change the chairs used by senators and congressmen
  2. Change the tables
  3. Change the location of the legislature

Those chairs are large, comfortable and they recline and swivel. Check out the Bundestag, chairs are close together and they can't swivel all the way around. The Canadian Parliament like UK's House of Commons don't even have chairs or tables. The legislators sit on benches.

Why should legislators have chairs that are NOT comfortable and don't recline or swivel? Or have large tables?

It's easier to fall asleep in a comfortable reclining chair -hence those classic shots of privilege speeches with senators sleeping in the background. A swivelling chair makes it easy to turn around and have an on the floor caucus. -- Both indulgences allow a legislator to not listen to the business at hand. It may seem trivial but that means the real "business" of the senate and congress goes on outside the legislative floor -where points are clarified and deals are made. The floor is all just for show.

Large tables makes it easy to bring papers to work on or read while at the session floor distracting from what should be a debate about the items on the agenda. Again, this means the deals are done off the floor.

The Congress and the Philippine Senate are in hard to access areas -away from the business and commercial centers and away from main roads. This reduces the chances of ordinary citizens coming in to watch the proceedings and take part in the process. Apart from during major events like the SONA, the only people who will go out of their way to go to the Senate or Congress are people with vested interests -i.e. lobbyists.

If I had my druthers, I'd ask Ayala Land to donate part of Fort Bonifacio (in a very accessible area) for a new legislative building -that can be designed via a competition -and with citizen input.


Sidney said...

Good idea's !

Urbano dela Cruz said...

thanks! now if we can only get it off the idea desk an onto the ground...

Ian said...

You know why we have those swiveling chairs and all? To give the utmost comfort for our lawmakers at the expense of their people. They don't have to listen of course because they don't listen to their own people's voices. I wonder what Sen. Revilla is doing? I know what. He is busily promoting his new fantasy movie which he is excited about. Stamp me in the head please and send me to oblivion.

--==* Princesse LaurAnnA *==-- said...

I agree with your suggestions. What's the point of giving them much comfort, to begin with? Is it just because they're working for the nation? Who isn't? Aren't we all doing that, indirectly at least?

It's infuriating to think that the people paying for their luxuries are sitting on benches, eating in carinderias/ jollyjeeps, commuting and just striving to get by. These ingrates are paid to do all those theatrical workings in Senate.
Well, they're all actors, anyway. =)

What I love about this idea is the mere fact that it starts with the most money-wasting branch of the government (correct me if i'm wrong). That can justifiably create a ripple effect down to regulatory agencies' offices.

Now to put the ideas into action? I seriously don't see any reason why it cannot be done. But I'd love to see how these lawmakers will react to something that may seem so flimsy. THEN maybe the Filipinos can finally realize that they've elected one or more people who are for wasting the people's tax money. =)

Urbano dela Cruz said...

The fun part of the idea is that you can bring it in on "stealth" mode.

The congressmen/senators would not mind having new offices and a new legislative hall. I doubt if they would pay attention to the design of the chair and tables in the main hall itself - as long as you give them comfortable office.

Another great move would be to make sure that all their offices have at least one glass wall visible from a large hall -so they cannot hide who they are meeting with -and so it is also easy to spot who is not in their office.

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