SONA 2020

SONA 2020 invitees test positive, but Duterte’s Batasan speech to push through

JC Gotinga

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SONA 2020 invitees test positive, but Duterte’s Batasan speech to push through

START. President Rodrigo Duterte joins Senate President Vicente Sotto III and House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano during the joint session of the 18th Congress, right before delivering his 2019 SONA.

Malacañang photo

(UPDATED) Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque says the final decision is for President Rodrigo Duterte to deliver his SONA at the Batasan Pambansa

(UPDATED) Organizers of President Rodrigo Duterte’s 5th State of the Nation Address on July 27, considered moving the event from the Batasan Pambansa in Quezon City to Malacañang in Manila, after some coronavirus swab tests of people expected to attend yielded positive results, Senator Bong Go told reporters past noon Monday.

Medyo nagbabantay ang security ngayon kasi…. I cannot divulge lang, pero may mga nag-positive yata after the swabbing,” Go said at around 12:50 pm, hours before the President’s speech was scheduled to begin at 4 pm. (Security is on the alert now because…. I just cannot divulge [details], but some [invitees] who were swabbed yielded positive results.)

Go said organizers would make a decision by 2 pm.

At past 2 pm, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said the final decision was for Duterte to deliver his SONA at the Batasan Pambansa.

The original plan for the SONA is to hold it at the Batasan Pambansa as done regularly the past years, but with a significantly reduced number of attendees to observe health protocols.

An alternative plan is for Duterte to deliver his speech at the Palace.

Senators, congressmen, and other people scheduled to attend the SONA were subjected to RT-PCR tests for COVID-19 on Monday morning. Results started coming in at around noon. –

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JC Gotinga

JC Gotinga often reports about the West Philippine Sea, the communist insurgency, and terrorism as he covers national defense and security for Rappler. He enjoys telling stories about his hometown, Pasig City. JC has worked with Al Jazeera, CNN Philippines, News5, and CBN Asia.