Malacañang on Monday said President Rodrigo Duterte’s State of the Nation Address (SONA) next month would be held in a different manner in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.
"That’s being discussed. I think kung mayroon tayong blended learning, we will also have a blended SONA," presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said in a televised briefing. He did not elaborate.
Senate President Vicente Sotto III said last week that there was a suggestion for Duterte to deliver his SONA on July 27 at the presidential palace.
Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri also said the Presidential Security Group was not keen on the idea of gathering around 5,000 people inside the House of Representatives for the SONA. Mass gatherings are currently prohibited to reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19.
The President of the Philippines is required by the Constitution to give an annual report to the nation and disclose policy directions before a joint session of Congress. However, there were instances that a chief executive did not deliver the SONA inside the legislative building.
In 1950, then-President Elpidio Quirino delivered the SONA via radio broadcast from Baltimore, Maryland. In 1973 and 1974, then-President Ferdinand Marcos held it in Malacañang. --KBK, GMA News