Congress is looking at three possible scenarios for the conduct of President Rodrigo Duterte's last State of the Nation Address or SONA next month as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to restrict mass gatherings, Senate President Vicente Sotto III said.
One of the scenarios include a limited number of guests at the Batasang Pambansa, like last year while the speech is aired live, said Sotto, adding he preferred this set-up.
He pegged the number of attendees at 70 for the House contingent and 30 for the Senate. Only those who are vaccinated against COVID-19 could be allowed to attend the event in person, he added.
Another option would be for the President to deliver his speech from Malacañang in Manila while the senators and congressmen are inside the Batasang Pambansa Complex, Sotto said, with the lawmakers listening to the President's speech virtually.
The third scenario would be for Sotto and Speaker Lord Allan Velasco to physically join Duterte in Malacañang while he delivers his speech, while the rest of the lawmakers will be at the Batasang Pambansa Complex.
The 1987 Constitution requires the incumbent president to address Congress at the opening of its regular session. The 18th Congress will open its Third Regular Session on July 26.