MANILA - Congress is looking to allow as many as 200 participants in President Rodrigo Duterte’s final State of the Nation Address (SONA) next month, an official said Tuesday.
This can be made possible while still observing distancing protocols by having some lawmakers occupy the audience galleries, said House of Representatives Secretary General Mark Llandro Mendoza, whose office oversees preparations at the Batasang Pambansa Complex.
“Same as last year ang mangyayari pero baka madagdagan lang 'yung attendees natin because medyo maluwag nang kaunti as of now. Madagdagan 'yung mga papasok sa plenary," he told reporters.
(It will be the same as last year but the number of attendees might increase, as of now. The number of those who can enter the plenary might increase.)
Only around 50 people were allowed to physically attend Duterte's SONA last year.
“We're looking around... with both Houses siguro around 150-200 ang makakapasok sa plenary natin this year. Pero depende pa rin sa ano ng IATF (Inter-Agency Task Force Against COVID-19) at same time sa ano ng Malacañang, so far 'yun ang projection."
(With both Houses, some 150-200 can enter the plenary this year. But it depends on the IATF and Malacañang. So far that's our projection.)
Only government media will be allowed to cover the SONA inside the complex, with private media joining remotely, Mendoza said.
Mendoza added they’re also looking into giving fully vaccinated individuals access.
”By that time naman karamihan naman fully vaccinated na. We're hoping na 'yung mag attend lahat ng papasok sa plenary fully vaccinated sila," he said.
(By that time, majority will be fully vaccinated. We're hoping that attendees who will enter the plenary are already fully vaccinated.)
The chamber, which has 47 active COVID-19 cases, is forecast to have vaccinated 80 percent of its employees by July 26, according to Mendoza.
There is still no word on who will direct the broadcast coverage of the President’s final report to the nation, Mendoza said. Last year, film and TV Director Joyce Bernal helmed the broadcast coverage.