Duterte practices delivering his SONA 2017

PRACTICE TIME. President Duterte rehearses his second State of the Nation Address on July 20, 2017 in Davao City. PCOO photo

PRACTICE TIME. President Duterte rehearses his second State of the Nation Address on July 20, 2017 in Davao City.

PCOO photo

MANILA, Philippines (2nd UPDATE) – President Rodrigo Duterte set aside some time on Thursday, July 20 to practice his delivery of his second State of the Nation Address (SONA).

Duterte began rehearsing at around 7 pm at the Presidential Guest House in Panacan, Davao City in the presence of Special Assistant to the Presidenti Bong Go, Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar, and staff.

During the practice session, Duterte voiced his wish that his written speech not go beyond 40 to 50 minutes, according to Andanar.

"He wants it direct to the point. I'm estimating the final draft to be between 15 to 18 pages," he added.

Duterte dove into rehearsing after a full day during which he visited Marawi City and Presidential Security Group members wounded in a recent clash with communists.

In the photo of his practice session, he is seen still wearing the army battle attire he wore to Marawi.

According to a source, the President tried practicing his speech without the help of a teleprompter.

Duterte expressed an aversion for using a teleprompter again for his second SONA. Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar says they await Duterte's decision on whether or not to still use the machine on Monday.

"The President really isn't used to the prompter, he really doesn't like it. So we will see what his decision will be later," said Andanar in Filipino on Thursday morning, in a radio interview with DZRH.

It can be recalled that during his first SONA, Duterte had a hard time reading from the teleprompter.

He had complained of this several times in the middle of his SONA in front of Congress, even resorting to ad lib because he had gotten tired of reading his prepared speech.

"Tapos na yan. Itaas mo na kay na i-Tagalog ko na (That's done. Bring it up because I already said that in Tagalog)," Duterte had instructed the teleprompter operator then.

Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar had earlier told Palace reporters that he and his staff would be in Davao by Thursday "to assist the President in finalizing his speech and to brief him what to expect from production."

In previous interviews, Andanar spoke about the possibility of the PCOO hiring interpreters so that diplomats attending the SONA can understand the President when he speaks in Filipino or Bisaya.

"We are also thinking of hiring interpreters," Andanar said in a radio dzBB interview on July 9.

What can one expect from Duterte's SONA? It will still be largely a prepared speech but one that will encapsulate Duterte's message.

"He’s just simply going to be speaking from his heart....There is a prepared speech but basically, it will try to capture what he really intends to say," said Abella.

Duterte may mention the Marawi crisis, the Bangsamoro Basic Law, tax reform, and his administration's fight against drugs and corruption.

Can we expect Duterte to go off-script again? 

In his first SONA, Duterte  made his audience laugh and perhaps even squirm in their seats as he made off-the-cuff remarks.

"Sino man nagsuporta sa inyo sa akin dito? Wala man, not a single congressman (Who among you here supported me? None, not a single congressman)," said Duterte in one of the more memorable off-script remarks he made during his first SONA.

There's every possibility of a repeat, but the President may just surprise everyone. – Rappler.com

Pia Ranada

Pia Ranada covers the Office of the President and Bangsamoro regional issues for Rappler. While helping out with desk duties, she also watches the environment sector and the local government of Quezon City. For tips or story suggestions, you can reach her at pia.ranada@rappler.com.