MANILA, Philippines — The House of Representatives (HOR) is working double-time to complete the last-minute preparations for the fifth State of the Nation Address (SONA) of President Rodrigo Duterte.
But unlike the fourth SONA, some major changes can be expected on that special day of the President, given that the country is experiencing a pandemic.
Last year’s SONA was a deviation from previous SONAs based on its theme and cinematic treatment initiated by award-winning director Joyce Bernal who was personally picked by the President himself.
But with the new normal forced by the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, the plan is to use less camera work because only a few individuals may be allowed to enter the Batasang Pambansa.
Bernal said they have prepared a number of pre-recorded materials for the event which include the singing of the national anthem and some of the supporting materials for the President’s speech.
Also, the facility for the video conferencing of members of the Congress, agency heads and other government officials has already been set up.
“Kapag meron kaming mga malalaking equipment na ganun kailangan ng tao so bawas tao talaga,” Bernal said.
“Siguro iyong mga shots namin, dadaanin na lang sa bilis pero naka-planta na talaga kasi wala na rin yung lakad,” she added.
On Monday (July 27), the Batasan premises will undergo disinfection.
In adherence to strict health protocols, markings will be installed to guide the attendees in observing proper physical distance and body temperature of all persons coming in will be checked.
On Sunday, all persons authorized to physically attend the SONA will have to take the swab test just to ensure that they are COVID-19- free.
Security measures, as always, will be tight and no private media outlet will be allowed inside the venue.
Expected highlights of Duterte’s fifth SONA will be the administration’s programs for the prevailing COVID-19 pandemic. MNP (with details from Rey Pelayo)