Congress opens joint session to hear Duterte’s 2019 Sona
MANILA, Philippines — The House of Representatives and the Senate, the two chambers of Congress, convened in a joint session on Monday afternoon to hear President Rodrigo Duterte’s fourth State of the Nation Address (Sona).
Newly-elected House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano and Senate President Vicente “Tito” Sotto III welcomed Duterte at the House plenary hall which was packed with guests and members of Congress, members of the Cabinet and of the diplomatic corps.
Filipino tenor and Broadway singer Arman Ferrer will sing the Philippine national anthem “Lupang Hinirang.”
The Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra, the country’s leading orchestra and one of the top musical ensembles in the Asia-Pacific region, is set to play several original Filipino music and provide accompaniment to Ferrer during the joint session.
For the second time, Malacañang has tapped film and television director Joyce Bernal to direct this year’s Sona, which she hopes will appear “hopeful” and “grand” contrary to last year’s “shocking” and “gloomy” atmosphere.
The unexpected change of House leadership stole the spotlight from the President during the 2018 Sona. Then Pampanga 2nd District Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo ousted Davao del Norte 1st District Rep. Pantaleon Alvarez in a sordid coup that delayed Duterte’s speech for over an hour.
Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said Sunday Duterte is expected to tackle the issue of the West Philippine Sea and other major issues during his Sona.
The West Philippine Sea issue, as well as Philippine’s relations with China, was among the topics the public wants to hear from Duterte, according to a recent Pulse Asia survey.
Workers’ salaries, prices of basic commodities, and employment have also topped the list of issues the public would like the President to discuss during his report to the nation, the poll said. /muf
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