MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte's penultimate SONA will be far different from his previous ones and those of his predecessors as the COVID-19 pandemic prohibits mass gatherings.
"I can confirm it will not be the same SONA that we are used to," Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque said in a Palace press briefing.
Roque earlier floated a "blended" way of Duterte's 5th SONA, which he likened to the proposed "blended" learning.
"Syempre po, wala na yang madamihan na opisyales na nag-a-attend, wala na yung fashion show na pagandahan ng suot, at tingin ko po, kakaunti lang ang mag-assemble sa Kongreso," Roque said.
(Of course, there will be no mass gatherings of officials. There will be no fashion show, and I think only a few people will assemble in Congress.)
In previous years, the SONA usually serves as an opportunity for attendees to showcase their sense of style.
Roque said the Palace has yet to finalize whether Duterte would still go to Batasang Pambansa in Quezon City for his address or would do it via teleconferencing.
"'Di ko pa po sigurado if the President will physically go, or will address it online. Pero meron pa po kaming mga planong hinahanda," Roque said.
(I'm not sure yet if the President will physically go or will address it online. But we are preparing something.)
Under the Constitution, the President must deliver an annual report before Congress every 4th Monday of July in a joint session of the House of Representatives and the Senate.
This year's SONA falls on July 27.
Traditionally, government officials, lawmakers, and business leaders convene at the Batasang Pambansa for the President's SONA.