MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte will still deliver his fifth State of the Nation Address (SONA) at the Batasang Pambansa even as some of the expected attendees have tested positive for the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19), Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said on Monday afternoon.
“As of 2:30 p.m., PRRD (President Rodrigo Roa Duterte) is expected to deliver his 5th SONA at Batasan,” Roque said in a text message to reporters.
Roque’s statement came after House Deputy Speaker Johnny Pimentel announced that he tested positive for the virus.
The Presidential Communications Operations Office also announced that at least six Palace personnel supposedly assigned to render technical assistance during the SONA also contracted COVID-19.
Malacañang earlier said that lawmakers and their staff who will attend the SONA will be required to undergo swab testing as well as rapid testing. The test was done on Sunday.
Only those who will test negative for coronavirus disease will be allowed to physically attend the SONA, based on the safety protocol implemented for the event.
Duterte is expected to deliver his speech at 4 p.m before a joint session of Congress.
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