By Argyll Cyrus Geducos
Contrary to earlier speculations, President Duterte has committed to read his prepared speech during his third State of the Nation Address (SONA) on July 23.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque made the confirmation a week after he said that Duterte may deliver an extemporaneous speech due to the pre-SONA briefings.
The pre-SONA briefings are a series of three briefings conducted by the different Cabinet clusters to report on the achievements of the Duterte administration this past year.
In his Twitter account, Roque said that Duterte made the announcement during the Monday evening Cabinet meeting.
“‘I will read my SONA speech which should not be more than 35 minutes,'” Roque said, quoting the President.
Last week, Roque said that the pre-SONA briefings are conducted to allow Duterte to say what is truly in his heart during his SONA which would be directed by film and TV director Joyce Bernal.
“One difference is magkakaroon po ng pre-SONA briefings ‘yung mga (there will be pre-SONA briefings by the different) clusters that would be held in PICC (Philippine International Convention Center). That’s to give President latitude to say whatever he wants during the SONA. Because he has already laid out his achievements in the different clusters,” Roque had said Thursday.
Duterte is known to stray away from his prepared speeches and only reading a portion of them to acknowledge the work of the writer, as he often jests. According to him, the prepared speech does not really reflect the things he wants to say to the people.
He is also known to deliver lengthy speeches in mixed English, Tagalog, and Bisaya. The President also curses and jokes in his speeches.
In his first SONA, Duterte stuck with his prepared speech. However, in his second SONA last year, Duterte started to deviate from his prepared speech every now and then. It took the President two hours to deliver his second SONA.