Duterte’s SONA at Batasan possible, but with physical distancing — senator
MANILA, Philippines — Despite the threat of the coronavirus disease, President Rodrigo Duterte may still deliver his fifth State of the Nation Address (SONA) with the physical presence of lawmakers, according to one senator.
Senator Sherwin Gatchalian on Friday said “informal” discussions regarding possible SONA scenarios indicate that Duterte may still deliver his speech in the traditional venue at Batasang Pambansa Complex, which houses the lower chamber of Congress.
“Wala pa kong naririnig na formal na usapan e. I think it would be between the Senate President and the Speaker and Malacañang. Pero ang mga informal na naririnig ko na mga usap-usapan is tuloy pa rin sa House pero wala nang guest,” Gatchalian told reporters in an online interview when asked on the matter.
(I have yet to hear of any formal discussion. [If there will be one] I think it would be between the Senate President and the Speaker and Malacañang. But based on informal discussions is that he would deliver it at the House but guests would not be allowed).
Congressmen and senators may attend the event, provided that social distancing is observed, according to Gatchalian.
“Lahat ng congressmen and senators will occupy the gallery because of social distancing. ‘Di ba merong tatlong floors yung kanilang gallery so dun muna uupo ngayon yung mga mambabatas,” said the senator.
(Both congressmen and senators will occupy the gallery because of social distancing. There are three floors in the gallery so that’s where the lawmakers will sit.)
“As long as si President malayo sa mga mambabatas, pwede naman yon. Malaki ang plenary ng House, it can occupy thousands basta hiwalay, hiwalay muna kami,” he added.
(As long as the President is far away from the legislators, that would do. The plenary of the House is massive, it can occupy thousands as long as there is physical distance).
Earlier, Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque hinted at a “blended” way on how Duterte’s fifth SONA will be held.
Congress is currently on break and will resume for its second regular session on July 27, the same day the President will deliver his SONA.
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