Scenic Route: The Senate

A couple of minutes away from De La Salle University, just a moment’s strut along Diosdado Macapagal Boulevard, lies the heart of the country’s legislative branch, the Senate office of the Philippines.

Law Serves Peace, Let It Be Done: the Senate’s upholders couldn’t have said it any better, as its strict guidelines and rules bind the employees in a ladderized working system. Welcome to the Senate office. Time now to shed some light on the inner workings of one of the country’s core government entities.


The daily regimen

Punctuality and morning chit-chat welcomes the staff in the different halls of the Senate. The morning talks allow the staff to take a dose of their weekly Senate updates while they cautiously wait for their biometrics to be scanned as a reference for their attendance.

More than the daily morning check-in, the Senate also offers a variety of activities for its staff and interns, such as a healthy serving of house and senate bill reports, discourse synopsis, and senatorial evaluations. Reports and outputs are imperatively screened by department heads as it undergoes a rigorous credibility check, immediately smearing Wikipedia and Google as sources unreliable, before it is fully submitted to the Senators who require the use of the documents. The Senate always aims for accuracy and quality information regardless of the quantity of your sources and citations.

If Senate work seems stressful due to high information demands, worry not, for employees are advised to take short breaks between their working hours to continue the morning chit-chat and maintain a stress-free smile on their faces.

Speaking of breaks, the Senate’s location offers a great variety for its hungry staff during lunch breaks, with options including Sofitel’s Spiral or SM Mall of Asia’s vast selection of fast food and fine dining restaurants. However, for the lucky ones, there’s no need to go outside, as sumptuous food in the form of Senate caterer Tessie’s Cooking satisfies all hungry Senate bellies with their filling curries, pastas, and local dishes such as Adobo and Sinigang.

Half of the day remains, and this is where real work begins. The first few hours of the afternoon start off with the usual siesta but as the day continues to tick, the staff and interns alike pull out all the stops and shift into high gear as they start to conclude their respective assignments.

While regular Senate staff stay put on their chairs, interns on the other hand spend majority of their time in the library and in the archives, which is as elaborate as the library in Henry Sy, Sr. Hall. The Senate library offers a wide variety of political bills ranging from the First Congress up to the current 15th Congress of the Philippines. Furthermore, the library also offers economic data and charts which is unavailable in Google or any other search engine websites.

Eventually the day reaches its peak and it is time that outputs are reviewed, reports are heard, new assignments are handed out, and everyone starts packing their things up while being entrapped by the splendid flavor of the Senate’s turon as a meeting merienda.

When all’s said and done, the Senate employees slowly log out their time for the day as they make their way to the Human Resource Department, where another biometric scan should be made to avoid discrepancies in the logged hours. As employees get through with the biometric scan, the usual evening chit chat (again!) re-emerges along the corridors of the Senate as everyone heads to the front gate where employees await for the ever so punctual Senate Shuttle Bus.

The routine is repeated from Monday to Thursday, just like how Lasallians operate on a four-day system. The only difference here is that Tessie’s Cooking does not repeat its menu for indulgent consumers.


Holistic senate-ing

Who would have known that the Senate office of the Philippines, a place where laws and bills are passed and Chief Justices are being impeached, would sport a gym and a basketball court? The Senate office supports physical fitness and wellness for its employees with hassle-free summer workouts and programs. Starting off the list of programs is a sports fest, taking place a few months back prior to the beginning of summer. The Senate also sponsors a basketball camp as the Senate’s staff and their kids look forward to honing their skills for the hoops of the court.

And don’t think that it ends there! The Senate also offers a variety of clubs for its employees, such as the Senate Choir who perform every Monday in the general assembly where they bring about a wonderful rendition of the newly approved Senate Hymn.

Office work that seems similar but unlike any other within this country. Offices so near to the core of our country’s wild and unhindering administration, yet operating as smoothly and casually as any other corporate office would. There is more to discover beyond all that is uptight and rigid: the Senate office of the Philippines is a testament to the fact that there is more to our government than meets the eye.

Miguel Luis Gayares

By Miguel Luis Gayares

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