P20-M Sona budget covers food, renovation, materials – House

House: P20-M Sona budget covers food, renovation, materials

/ 06:13 PM July 10, 2024

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President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. delivers his speech at Malacañan Palace grounds in Manila City on Friday, January 12, 2024. INQUIRER.net/Ryan Leagogo

MANILA, Philippines — The P20-million budget for the 2024 State of the Nation Address (Sona) covers meals, renovation, and materials needed for the event, House of Representatives Secretary General Reginald Velasco said on Wednesday.

Valasco said he wanted to “clarify” the figures “to ensure that everyone has the correct information.”

“The amount of P20 million I referred to represents the total budget earmarked for the preparations and execution of the SONA. This figure is an estimate and has not yet been fully expended. The budget covers a range of essential expenses to ensure the event’s success, beginning from March 12, 2024, when the SONA Task Force was created,” he explained.

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He also said the following items are part of the budget:

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  • food and beverages for all personnel involved, including internal staff, external personnel like police, Metropolitan Manila Development Authority officers, other support staff, covering meals from preparatory activities to actual Sona day
  • three sets of uniforms for approximately 2,000 Secretariat employees, used for Sona and eventually for regular work
  • security expenses like personnel and equipment, to ensure safety during Sona
  • inter-agency coordination meetings with all departments and agencies involved in the Sona preparation to ensure seamless coordination and planning
  • invitations, giveaways, and costs associated with printing and distributing these
  • equipment rental like for LED and other equipment needed for the audiovisual presentation and overall ambiance inside the plenary
  • plants and flowers for decoration to ensure a welcoming and dignified atmosphere
  • other incidental expenses for collaterals, communication requirements, additional medical support from nearby hospitals, and other incidentals

“As Secretary General of the House of Representatives, I want to assure the public that we are committed to transparency and responsibility in spending public funds. Every peso allocated for the SONA is carefully scrutinized and managed to reflect the significance of this Constitutionally mandated event while being conscious of public sentiments regarding the use of taxpayers’ money,” Velasco said.

“Our goal is to ensure that the 2024 SONA is conducted with the highest standards, reflecting our dedication to serving the people with integrity and accountability,” he added.

Last Thursday, Velasco said the House is in the final stages of its preparations for President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.’s third Sona, with the Batasang Pambansa renovations nearly complete.

READ: House in final stages of preparations for Sona, says Velasco

During the meeting, the traffic rerouting plan was requested by Communications Undersecretary Honey Rose Mercado from the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority.

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TAGS: Ferdinand Marcos Jr., House of Representatives, Sona

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