House exec: P20-M budget is for entire SONA, not just food 

At a glance

  • House Secretary-General Reginald Velasco has clarified that the entire "estimated" expenditures for the 2024 State of the Nation Address (SONA) will be covered by the P20-million budget, and not just the food cost.

IMG-ba41bb8c2bd980d7fdf5cd7d66bdecde-V.jpgThe House plenary hall (Contributed photo)










House Secretary-General Reginald Velasco has set the record straight about the reported P20-million "food budget" for President Marcos' State of the Nation Address (SONA) this coming July 22. 

It turns out that the amount was meant to cover the "estimated" expenditures for the entire affair, and not just food for the participants. 

"There has been some misunderstanding about the figures mentioned, and I want to ensure that everyone has the correct information," Velasco said in a statement Wednesday, July 10. 

"The amount of P20 million I referred to represents the total budget earmarked for the preparations and execution of the SONA. This figure is an estimate and has not yet been fully expended," he said. 

"The budget covers a range of essential expenses to ensure the event’s success, beginning from March 12, 2024, when the SONA Task Force was created," said Velasco. 

The House official broke down the P20-million SONA 2024 budget into eight items. These are food and beverages, uniforms, security expenses, inter-agency coordination meetings, invitations and giveaways, equipment rental, potted plants and flowers, and other Incidental expenses. 

The final item, which was the most vague, include expenses for collaterals, communication requirements, additional medical support from nearby hospitals, and other incidentals. 

Velasco also gave additional details on the food expenses for the event. 

"This allocation covers meals for all personnel involved, including internal staff and external personnel such as police, MMDA (Metropolitan Manila Development Authority) officers, and other support staff. This provision is not only for the actual day of the SONA but also for all preparatory activities leading up to the event," he said. 

Velasco said Tuesday that over 2,000 guests are expected to troop to Batasang Pambansa Complex in Quezon City for this year's SONA, the "biggest in history" in terms of attendance. 

The number of security personnel to be tapped for the SONA is around 2,200. They are expected to secure strategic spots outside Batasan and along Commonwealth Avenue. 

Some 2,700 "force multipliers" would also need to be fed along with the regular security.

Regarding uniform cost, approximately 2,000 secretariat employees "will be provided with three sets of uniforms each, which will be used not only for the SONA but also for their day-to-day duties after event", the secretary-general said. 

Unmentioned by Velasco were the ongoing renovations at the north and south lobbies of Batasang Pambansa Complex. 




President Marcos will deliver his third SONA at the plenary hall of Batasan.

"I want to assure the public that we are committed to transparency and responsibility in spending public funds. Every peso allocated for the SONA is carefully scrutinized and managed to reflect the significance of this Constitutionally mandated event while being conscious of public sentiments regarding the use of taxpayers' money," Velasco said. 

"Our goal is to ensure that the 2024 SONA is conducted with the highest standards, reflecting our dedication to serving the people with integrity and accountability," he added.