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SONA 100: A brief history of required tradition

Since President Manuel L. Quezon delivered the first State of the Nation address on Nov. 25, 1935, Philippine Presidents have delivered every year—except on a few occasions—their speeches on where the country was and where it was headed.

Under Article VII, Section 5 of the 1935 Constitution, Quezon and the Presidents after him were mandated to "from time to time give Congress information on the state of the Nation, and recommend to its consideration such measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient.”

At present, Article VII, Section 23 of the 1987 Constitution, required that the "President address the Congress at the opening of its regular session."


Manuel Quezon delivering his 3rd SONA at the Legislative Building in Manila. PHOTO: Presidential Museum and Library Flickr Account



SONAs under the 1987 Constitution have always been held on the fourth Monday of July, the day mandated by the charter for Congress to convene under Article VI, Section 15.

On Monday, July 24, more than a year after winning the presidency with over 31 million votes, Marcos will deliver his second State of the Nation address.

15 Presidents

Fifteen of 17 Presidents have delivered their SONAs from Quezon in 1935 to President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. in 2022.

Emilio Aguinaldo, the country's first President; and Jose P. Laurel, the Philippines' wartime President from 1943 to 1945, did not deliver any report to the nation.

After Quezon delivered the first SONA in 1935, the only times when the President didn't deliver a SONA were during the Japanese Occupation from 1943 to 1944, and in 1986 after the EDSA Revolution.

Then President Corazon Aquino, however, delivered a speech in Malacañang to mark her first 100 days in office on June 4, 1986.

Number of SONAs by a President

The President who had the most number of SONAs was Marcos' father, Ferdinand Marcos Sr., who was the Chief Executive from 1965 to 1986. He had 20 annual speeches on the state of the nation.

Aside from those who didn't deliver a single SONA, the President who had the least number of SONAs was Sergio Osmeña who delivered one on June 3, 1946.

Osmeña delivered a first message to the First Congress of the Commonwealth on June 9, 1945.

Longest, shortest

Marcos Sr. in 1969 delivered the longest SONA speech with over 29,000 words.

Then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, now a Deputy Speaker and a Pampanga representative, in 2005 delivered the shortest with 1,556 words.

In terms of the time needed to complete her speeches, the average duration of Arroyo’s nine SONAs was 50 minutes.


President Benigno Aquino III delivers his third State of the Nation Address at the Batasang Pambansa. PHOTO: Joe Galvez


Then President Benigno Aquino's average duration of his SONA speeches from 2010 to 2015 was just under one and a half hours.

The SONAs of President Rodrigo Duterte from 2016 to 2021 averaged one hour and 43 minutes.

Marcos's first SONA in 2022 lasted for an hour and 13 minutes.



The SONA has been delivered in various venues through the decades. These include the Legislative Building in Manila (which now houses the National Museum of Fine Arts), Malacañang Palace, the Quirino Grandstand, the Philippine International Convention Center, and the John Hopkins Hospital in the US.

Then President Quirino on January 23, 1950, delivered his SONA via radio from Baltimore in the hospital where he had sought treatment.


President Rodrigo Duterte gives his final SONA in 2021.

During the pandemic in 2020 and 2021, then President Rodrigo Duterte delivered his SONA in a hybrid format, with a few allowed to physically be at the Batasan Pambansa while others attended virtually.

When Marcos gives his second SONA on Monday, it will be the 45th time that the Chief Executive will deliver his annual report to the country at the Batasang Pambansa. —Sherylin Untalan and GMA Integrated News Research/NB, GMA Integrated News