DAVAO CITY, Philippines—Beyond the numbers, were the promises fulfilled?
This is the question that President Rodrigo Duterte will attempt to answer as he delivers his second State of the Nation Address on Monday, July 24. The President’s SONA will also discuss his accomplishments and the programs he will prioritize for the next year.
While we know that it was the President who pushed for the extension of Martial Law before his SONA, the Congress, in response, gave him the nod after almost seven hours of session on Saturday.
The Presidential News Desk issued a statement on the preparations for the President’s SONA and we have listed five of the things to share with you.
1. Duterte’s children to witness dad’s 2nd SONA
The City Information Office confirmed that Duterte’s children: Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio, Davao City Vice Mayor Paolo Duterte, and Sebastian Duterte will attend their father’s second SONA.
The CIO also confirmed that the rest of the Duterte family will be present including Mayor Sara’s husband, lawyer Manases Carpio and their son Stingray. Vice Mayor Paolo will be joined by his wife Davao City Councilor January Duterte and their children Uno and Rigo while Sebastian Duterte will be accompanied by girlfriend Kate Labio and their son Yair.
The speech of the President is written in English but similar to last year’s SONA, he is expected to deliver his message using the Cebuano or Tagalog languages. The Presidential Communication and Operation Office will assign Spanish, French, German, Russian, Chinese, and Japanese interpreters for the diplomats present during the event. An English translator is on stand-by to interpret the President’s vernacular lines for attending foreign dignitaries. There will also be a sign language interpreter for those with auditory impairment.
3. Dress code
President Duterte last year donned a Barong Tagalog with rolled-up sleeves and paired with dark-colored pants. This year, he is expected to wear his signature-style Barong Tagalog.
Guests are discouraged from wearing tuxedos and evening gowns. The dress code, just like the previous year, is still business attire or barong for men, and business attire or Filipiniana dress at knee length for women.
This SONA is said to dramatize “a simple and populist character” of the President. He shuns the usual pomp and pageantry.
4. Heightened security
Protesters are gearing up to demand genuine change from the President. An effigy of Duterte is expected to be seen in the protest action, too. The authorities will implement stricter security measures. A no-fly zone, which includes drones, will be in effect during the SONA.
The National Capital Region Police Office is said to send a 6,000-strong police force for the event, which includes the Civil Disturbance Management (CDM) units and Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) team. The figure is 50 percent higher than last year’s 4,000 policemen.
Protesters are allowed to occupy three lanes on the northbound of Commonwealth Avenue. Instead of barbed wires and container vans, plastic barriers will be installed near the Batasang Pambansa Complex to create a 200-meter boundary between the rallyists and the Batasan gate.
5. Schedule of arrival
The Plenary Hall will be opened for guests at 2 p.m. The President is set to arrive by air or land at 3:30 p.m.
The Senate President and the House Speaker and a welcoming committee composed of the Senate Majority Leader, House Majority Floor Leader, Senate Secretary, and House Secretary-General will meet the President at the main door and lead him to the Legislators’ Lounge, where the President is paid a courtesy call by the leaders of the Senate and House of Representatives, before proceeding to the Plenary Hall for the joint session of Congress.
After which, the joint session of Congress is called to order, the national anthem is sung, and an invocation is said before the President descends to the rostrum to deliver his SONA. The President’s SONA is expected to start at 4 p.m.