Leaders of Congress have submitted to the executive department three scenarios to consider for holding President Duterte’s last State of the Nation Address (SONA) in July.
Senate President Vicente Sotto III, in an online interview with reporters Monday, June 21, said they are first considering a scenario similar to the President’s 2020 SONA at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, wherein a limited number of people will be allowed to physically attend the event in the Batasang Pambansa complex in Quezon City, while majority of lawmakers and guests will be present via teleconference.
This time, Sotto said they are mulling to increase the number of Duterte’s audience: a maximum of 30 persons from the Senate, and some 100 from the House of Representatives, including staff members.
House Speaker Lord Allan Velasco suggested to allow only those who have been fully vaccinated against the coronavirus.
Another scenario, he said, would be for Duterte to deliver his address to the people in the Malacañang, while he, Velasco, and other Congress members will watch his address in Batasan.
The third scenario would be they would be Sotto and Velasco accompanying Duterte at the Palace, while other lawmakers will be in Batasan.
Sotto said they would leave it to the Presidential Security Group to decide which option will be safest for Duterte.
“Unless they come up with something else,” the Senate leader said.
Last year, those few who were physically present in Duterte’s SONA at the Batasang Pambansa were required to undergo an RT-PCR test and yield a negative result before being allowed entry.