Duterte readies ‘short’ SONA

July 20, 2019
Rodrigo R. Duterte

MALACAÑANG said preparations for President Rodrigo Duterte’s fourth State of the Nation Address (SONA) were in full swing, adding that Duterte himself has been editing his speech during rehearsals Friday evening.

Communications Secretary Martin Andanar said that Duterte has always been the one editing his SONA since he assumed office.

“So far ‘yung ating (our) State of the Nation Address preparations ay (is) on its full swing. At for the past three years siya talaga ang nag-e-edit ng (he has been the one who edits his) speech,” he said.

Andanar said that Duterte cut down his speech from 28 to just 19 pages.

“The original 28-page speech was cut to 19 pages. We are still revising the speech as ordered by PRRD. It’s 98 percent done,” he said Sunday morning.

“The speech will be about 45 minutes to an hour-long without adlib,” he added.

Assisting the President in the rehearsals, which ended around 10 p.m., were Andanar, Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo, and Senator Bong Go. Television and film director Joyce Bernal who was tapped to direct Duterte’s fourth SONA was also present.

Meanwhile, Andanar said that Radio Television Malacañang (RTVM) and Bernal’s team were ready for the event.

“The RTVM headed by Director Demic Pabalan and the team of Director Joyce Bernal are 100 percent ready. Barring any technical malfunction, we are good to air,” he said.

Earlier, Andanar said Duterte’s SONA would likely take at least 45 to 80 minutes, depending on the speed of the President’s delivery and if he decides to go off-script.

Duterte’s first SONA in 2016 lasted 92 minutes while his second SONA lasted for two hours. His third SONA lasted for 48 minutes.

Meanwhile, sources bared that the West Philippine Sea issue will be possibly discussed by the President in his SONA.

“Highly possible that WPS among others will be discussed,” the source said.

The President earlier said that he will “educate” his critics about his decisions regarding the South China Sea dispute during his SONA, and why they are not unconstitutional.

Panelo said that Duterte’s SONA would be “short” and would focus on his promises such as eradicating illegal drugs and corruption, and his plans for the remainder of his term.

The Palace also said that Duterte’s speech on Monday would be short because of the three pre-SONA briefings where the administration’s achievements were extensively discussed.