Duterte to deliver heartfelt SONA

The public can expect President Duterte's sixth and final State of the Nation Address (SONA) on Monday, July 26, will make an impact in their hearts and minds as he was set to detail his roadmap for his remaining year in office.

President Duterte (Malacañang photo)

In a statement, Communications Secretary Martin Andanar said the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) was working non-stop to ensure that Duterte's last SONA will leave a mark.

He said the event will be a reflection of what Duterte was as a leader.

"We at the PCOO have been working non-stop in our preparations to make this SONA modest, yet memorable and significant to the Filipino people - something that reflects President Duterte as a leader," he said.

"With our last year in the Duterte administration, we will ensure that this year’s SONA will be etched in the hearts and minds of the Filipino people that we've worked hard to serve," he added.

According to Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque, the President's final SONA will tell the public where the Philippines is now under his administration, and what can they expect in his last year in office.

“Ang magiging porma ng SONA niya (President Duterte) ay titignan niya ang nakalipas na limang taong siya’y naging Presidente (His SONA will look back at the past five years that he was President),” Roque said.

“Po-focus siya, siyempre, sa pag-unlad ng bayan, sa ating mga (He will focus, of course, on the country’s growth, our) social programs, infrastructure, peace and security, foreign policy,” he added.

“Sasagutin niya ang tanong na (He will answer the questions) ‘What and where are we now?’, and ‘Looking forward’ doon sa huling taon ng panunungkulan ng ating Presidente (on his last year as the President),” he continued.

The President, however, will not be discussing his plans for the 2022 elections in his speech.

“Siguro po hindi mapapasama ang kanyang mga planong politikal (I don’t think his political plans will be part of the speech),” Roque said.

“Ang importante (What’s important) is the roadmap for his last year in office,” he added.

According to Andanar, only around 400 guests will be allowed at the Batasang Pambansa's Batasan Hall. They will be required to present negative coronavirus (COVID-19) test results before they can be allowed at the venue.

Meanwhile, the Presidential Security Group (PSG) said they were prepared to provide full security for President Duterte and help ensure the smooth and safe conduct of his SONA.

"PSG is prepared for any contingency, thus, we will implement our highest security protocols in 360-degree, to secure our President and ensure the success of his SONA at all costs," PSG chief Brig Gen. Jesus Durante III said.

To accommodate a wider audience composed of some Cabinet officials and diplomats, Andanar said the PCOO has set up a virtual live screening of the SONA at the Malacañang Palace.

He said design inspirations from Mindanao will be incorporated in delivering and focusing on the Duterte administration's heirloom legacies.

Instead of tapping a TV/movie director, RTVM director Danny Abad will instead direct this year's SONA.

According to PTV General Manager Kat de Castro, Malacañang gave the SONA Committee a free hand in choosing the director.

"We did ask Malacañang if they had any preference but they let us have a free hand on choosing who will direct the SONA," she said in a text message to reporters.

"RTVM’s Demic Pabalan volunteered one of their own, Director Danny Abad, who has directed SONAs of past presidents," she added.

Meanwhile, the SONA Committee, chaired by Andanar and De Castro, was set to play pre-recorded favorite songs of the President rendered by the Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra throughout the SONA. These include "Ang Pagbabago," "What a Wonderful World," "Dust in the Wind," and "McArthur Park,” among others, throughout the SONA.

The Philippine National Anthem will be sung by singer Morissette Amon.

"It was the House Of Representatives who invited Morissette Amon to sing the National Anthem," De Castro said.