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Duterte to Deliver COVID-Themed SONA from Congress

Roque reminds protesters about mass gathering limits.
by Joel Guinto
Jul 20, 2020

President Rodrigo Duterte will be physically present in Congress to deliver his State of the Nation Address next week, Malacanang said Monday. The chief executive is expected to detail how he plans to address the twin health and economic crises spawned by the COVID-19 pandemic.

One option was for the 75-year-old leader to deliver his SONA from a remote location, marking the first time in recent years that the speech would not be delivered from the Batasang Pambansa. Duterte decided against a virtual speech. Rehearsals are underway for the penultimate SONA, Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque said.

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"I can confrim for the first time the President will be physically present in Batasan pagdating sa SONA sa 27 ng buwang ito. Nakaschedule ang rehearsal, patuloy ang preparasyon (I can confirm for the first time that the President will be physically present in Batasan during the SONA on the 27th of this month. Rehearsals are scheduled and preparations continue)," he said.
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COVID-19 is the "obvious" topic of the SONA, Roque said. The President will discuss the pandemic's effect on the country and plans to recover from the crisis, he said.  He will also lay out his plans in his last two years in office, the spokesman said. As of July 19, the Philippines confirmed 67,456 cases including 1,831 deaths and 22,456 recoveries.
Roque reminded anti-government protesters to be mindful of the 10-person limit on mass gatherings, with Metro Manila still under general community quarantine or GCQ, the second lowest in a four-step quarantine system. A broad coalition is readying a COVID-themed street protest on SONA day, dubbed "Sonagkakaisa" with strict reminders to wear masks and observe physical distancing.
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