MANILA — President Rodrigo Duterte's final State of the Nation Address (SONA) in July could be similar to last year's that saw a "hybrid" session, with limited guests inside the Batasan Pambansa and the rest attending online, House Speaker Lord Allan Velasco said on Thursday.
"SONA, tingin ko, it's going to be something like last year lang. 'Yung parang iilang members lang will be allowed... So baka kaunti lang tayo. But, hopefully, kung before SONA, ma-vaccinate na natin karamihan, baka we can increase that. But everything syempre is upon approval of Malacañang," Velasco said, adding he doesn't think it would be like pre-pandemic versions.
(I think the final SONA could be just like last year's where limited people were allowed inside the Batasan. But with the vaccination, we hope we could increase the number of physical attendees. It's up to Malacañang.)
Under the Constitution, the President must deliver an annual report to Congress every 4th Monday of July in a joint session of the House of Representatives and the Senate.
Traditionally, government officials, lawmakers, and business leaders convene at the Batasang Pambansa in Quezon City, where the President delivers his SONA.
But due to the COVID-19 pandemic, mass gatherings are prohibited.
Congress will resume its plenary session on May 17, lasting until June 4 when it adjourns its second regular session sine die.
The third and final regular session will open on July 26, during which Duterte will deliver his last SONA.
— Report from RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News