House may expand physical attendance for Duterte's final SONA

RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 28 2021 06:25 PM

MANILA - The House of Representatives may expand its physical attendance for President Rodrigo Duterte's final State of the National Address, which will be held next month.

House Majority Leader and Leyte Rep. Martin Romualdez said on Monday that those who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 may attend the SONA in person.

"Kung maaari lang po ay siguro papabigyan rin 'yung mga fully vaccinated para dumami naman ang makakarinig ng SONA in the personal capacity," he told reporters. 

(Those who are fully vaccinated may be allowed so there will be more SONA attendees in person.)

COVID-19 testing will still be required for those who will be physically present. 

Attendees may have to undergo testing one to two days before the SONA.

Romualdez however emphasized that the conduct of the SONA will be ultimately decided by 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.

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.

Romualdez expects this year’s SONA to be similar to last year’s set-up due to the public health crisis.

”I expect we will have something similar to what we had last year. Mas marami lang tao kasi mas marami na-vaccinate na, all the while keeping with the protocols of social distancing and all the testing in place," he said.

(There will just be more attendees since many have been vaccinated.)

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