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Gov't to spend P4.7M for Sona 2019

Gov't to spend P4.7M for Sona 2019

MANILA, Philippines — The government will spend P4.7 million for President Rodrigo Duterte’s fourth State of the National Address (Sona) on July 22, House of Representatives Acting Sec. Gen. Dante Roberto Maling said Thursday. 

This budget is about P200,000 less compared to last year’s P4.9 million, the official added.

Maling said the fund would be used for supplies, materials, and food for the annual event which would be attended by around 1,500 individuals. 

Among those usually invited, Maling said, are former presidents, senators, diplomatic corps, present and former members of the Executive department, and local government officials. No former president has confirmed their attendance so far, he added.

“Wala naman po (masyadong changes) basically ‘yung mga preparation has been the same through the years except for very very minor details,” Maling said in a press conference.

The official also said they would finalize the logistics and decorations with director Joyce Bernal next week. The food for the attendees would also be finalized in the coming days, but a mix of Filipino, European, and Carribean cuisines are among their choice, according to Maling.

Maling also said Arman Ferrer is expected to sing the Philippine national anthem at the start of the joint session of Congress. 

Security

House Sergeant-at-Arms Romeo Prestoza said no “substantial” security threats have been monitored so far, but the Presidential Security Group would still jam the cellular signal at Batasang Pambansa Complex depending on their desired time. 

Maling also said they have contingency plans should unexpected delays happen before the start of the Sona, just like last year when a sudden change in leadership delayed Duterte’s speech for more than an hour.

“We always prepare for contingencies pero hindi po namin pinapasok sa isip namin ‘yung delays,” Maling added.

Some 306 House members are expected to attend the Sona, a bit more compared to 17th Congress’ 297 congressmen. /je