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President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr.’s third State of the Nation Address (SONA) on July 22 is expected to have the highest attendance in history with over 2,000 guests confirmed to attend, an official of the House of Representatives said on Tuesday.

House Secretary General Reginald Velasco said the number of plenary seats has been adjusted, rising from 1,312 to 1,814.

“So far we have received confirmation from over 2,000 guests, including the House members and members of the Senate who will be joining the joint session to hear the SONA of the President,” Velasco told reporters.

Velasco said there would also be a viewing area with seating for up to 300 people for guests who cannot be accommodated in the plenary.

“We will be opening some viewing rooms for the additional guests that we have because the confirmations for the SONA have been overwhelming,” he said.

He said security measures and renovations are almost completed with a target deadline of July 15.

Velasco said they are still awaiting confirmation from the office of Vice President Sara Duterte.

“We will just make an announcement on this as soon as we get confirmation from the Office of the Vice President,” Velasco said, adding that there is no strict deadline for VIP (very important persons).

As for the dress code, Velasco said any attire conveying political messages against the President’s SONA would be prohibited. Attendees donning such clothing could possibly be detained.

Velasco said members of Congress wearing clothes with political statements would be asked to change.

“If you want to protest, there are some areas reserved for your protest or demonstration. This is not the place and the time to express anything. You can do that after. If you want to do it during SONA, there are areas where you can do it but not here in the Batasan Complex,” he said.

“Kapag hindi kayo sumunod (If you will not follow), you will be arrested, you will be detained,” he added.

The next session of the 19th Congress will open in the morning of July 22.

In the afternoon, the President will deliver his third SONA before a joint session of Congress. (PNA)