SONA 2020

Duterte rehearses twice for 2020 SONA

Rambo Talabong
President Rodrigo Duterte could possibly hold a third and final rehearsal on Sunday night, says Communications Secretary Martin Andanar

President Rodrigo Duterte has rehearsed twice for his 2020 State of the Nation Address (SONA), Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Secretary Martin Andanar said on Sunday, July 26.

Duterte has completed his first two rehearsals on the evenings of Friday and Saturday, and could even hold a third and “final rehearsal” on Sunday night, said Andanar in an interview over dzBB radio.

Swabe naman iyong pag-practice, iyong pag-rehearse ni Presidente. Mayroon siyang mga nakitang dapat lang baguhin doon sa kaniyang speech,” Andanar said.

(The practice has gone smoothly. He saw some parts of it that needed to be changed.)

The SONA is drafted by Duterte’s speechwriters from reports and the drafts of his Cabinet secretaries. He gives the final edits and approval for what he will report to the Filipino people.

Asked whether the President will speak about the controversial Anti-Terror Law and his administration’s plan for the country’s claim over the West Philippine Sea, Andanar said he did not know.

Andanar said he has not read the President’s draft speech, but he knew that Duterte had a portion of the draft taken down. He did not elaborate.

Duterte will deliver his penultimate SONA on Monday, July 27 against a backdrop of rising coronavirus cases, a heavy handed approach to a public health crisis, and thousands of stranded Filipinos – most of whom lost their jobs – wanting to return to their home provinces.

While government agencies struggled with the pandemic response, Duterte signed into law the controversial anti-terror measure which human rights advocates, lawyers, and civil society said have several questionable provisions.

A congressional committee rejected the franchise application of media giant, ABS-CBN, which left a void in the public’s access to news and information during the pandemic. Moreover, the network’s shutdown would lead to the retrenchment of more than 11,000 employees.

Demonstrators from various groups have planned protests both online and offline to report their own state of the nation under the Duterte government. –

Rambo Talabong

Rambo Talabong covers the House of Representatives and local governments for Rappler. Prior to this, he covered security and crime. He was named Jaime V. Ongpin Fellow in 2019 for his reporting on President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs. In 2021, he was selected as a journalism fellow by the Fellowships at Auschwitz for the Study of Professional Ethics.