Congress ready for Sona 2018
It’s all systems go for the third State of the Nation Address (Sona) of President Rodrigo Duterte on July 23, Congress’ taskforce on Sona assured on Thursday.
House of Representatives sergeant-at-arms Lt. Gen. Roland Detabali said their security personnel and other government agencies are more prepared now compared to last year’s national address.
“We have more assets now, available units, equipment, and techniques we’ve learned also from the experience in Marawi,” Detabali assured in a press briefing. “Other agencies also developed their capabilities with the problems, especially terrorism. We do not see any of these happening. We’re ready for this.”
“We have a lot of partner agencies that will not only help with traffic control and other problems connected to Sona. We are confident that we will be coordinated and sure to be very accessible to any of our stakeholders,” he continued.
In 2017, the President had gone outside, surrounded by security, and faced protesters outside the House of Representatives shortly after delivering his second Sona.
But this year, the President’s security will advise him not to repeat this move, Detabali said.
“We’ve been talking with the Presidential Escort Units. For the sake of the president and the country, they will advise him not to do what he did last year,” he said.
Regarding Duterte’s unplanned acts, Detabali said that the security force has been preparing and are more than willing to take risks in dealing with such emergencies.
“Last year, biglaan yun, eh. They were not prepared. This year, baka isipin nila na pwedeng gawin ni President. Kahit madisgrasya siguro yung ibang kasama nila, they will do it,” he added.
Meanwhile, House Secretary General Cesar Pareja said that they would be expecting about 3,000 guests in this year’s Sona, doubling the 1,500 seating capacity of the session hall.
“The occupancy of the session covers 1, 500. That’s the seating capacity. We added some seats, around another 1,500. We just doubled the space. That’s the only limit allowed by the Bureau of Fire Protection. We don’t want to cloud the area,” said Pareja. Syrah Vivien Inocencio, Intern, INQUIRER.net/je
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