President Rodrigo Duterte’s sixth and final State of the Nation Address (SONA) on July 26 will be “modest yet memorable”.
Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Secretary Martin Andanar said on Friday they have been working non-stop in their preparations to make the SONA significant to the country.
“Something that reflects President Duterte as a leader,” Andanar said in a press statement.
Duterte’s last SONA, Andanar said, would remind Filipinos that the current administration worked hard to serve them.
The address will be helmed by Radio Television Malacañang (RTVM) director Danny Abad while Andanar and People’s Television Network (PTV-4) general manager Katherine de Castro have been overseeing the production as the SONA committee chairpersons.
“Design inspirations from Mindanao will be incorporated in delivering and focusing on the Duterte administration’s heirloom legacies,” Andanar said.
Singer Morissette Amon, a Cebu native, will sing the national anthem live.
Pre-recorded songs from the Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra, including “Ang Pagbabago”, “What a Wonderful World”, “Dust in the Wind”, and “McArthur Park”, will be played throughout Duterte’s speech.
A documentary titled “Ang Pangulo” prepared by PTV-4 will also be aired before the SONA.
Despite the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic, a maximum of 400 guests are expected to attend, Andanar said.
Guests must present their proof of vaccination, must be negative for Covid-19 via a reverse transcription polymerase-chain reaction test two days before the event, and undergo rapid antigen test at the Batasang Pambansa in Quezon City on SONA day.
“These meticulous preparations are set to ensure the safety and security of the President and all of the attendees from all forms of threats, to include Covid-19 virus,” the Presidential Security Group (PSG) said in a separate statement.
Video teleconferencing and live streaming will be done to accommodate media and guests who will not be physically present at the plenary hall.
Andanar said the Integrated News Team of the PCOO, PTV-4, RTVM, Philippine News Agency, Philippine Broadcasting Service, Philippine Information Agency, and all other government media arm will provide full media coverage.
A virtual live screening of the SONA at Malacañang Palace in Manila will also be set up to accommodate a wider audience composed of some Cabinet officials and diplomats, Andanar said.
Routine, random inspections
Task Force (TF) for SONA 2021 has been conducting a series of security and inter-agency meetings, as well as ocular and site inspections to ensure the safe conduct of the final SONA.
“The TF SONA 2021 will intensify its protective security operations in the coming days and will continue to conduct routine and random inspections at the venue. With this, the Presidential Security Group together with its security counterparts are ready to secure the President, the First Family, other VIPs (very important persons) and guests,” it said.
Article 7, Section 23 of the Constitution requires the President to “address the Congress at the opening of its regular session”.
The Philippine president delivers the SONA every year, usually held every last Monday of July, to report the state of the country, unveil the administration’s agenda, and ask Congress to pass priority measures. (PNA)