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SoNA budget P200K lesser

Hananeel Bordey

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The budget for the 2019 State of the Nation Address (SoNA) is P200,000 lesser than that of last year’s, a House of Representatives official said on Thursday.

“’Yung latest figure po naming is P4.7 (million) something. Last year po is P4.9 (million). The usual expenses po ay for the supplies and materials para po sa SoNA. The usual na ginagawa na activities related sa SoNA,” House Acting Secretary General Dante Roberto Maling said in a press conference on Thursday.

The amount covers food for the event, Maling added.

Maling said slight changes in the SoNA include the addition of seats in the Plenary Hall as the number of members of the House of Representatives has increased from 297 to 306.

Also, there is an on-going planning on the positioning of senators’ seats inside the plenary as the placement of the Presidential Security Group (PSG) will be also considered, he said.

Meanwhile, there is no substantial threat reported, House Sergeant-at-Arms retired AFP Major General Romeo Prestoza said in the press briefing

The House is coordinating with the National Intelligence Coordinating Agency and the International Security Assistance Force to ensure tight security during the SoNA.

PSG will also set up signal jammers during the event, according to Prestoza.

The House of Representatives has already sent invitations to the diplomatic corps, members of the executive, local government officials, and former presidents of the Philippines. It has prepared 1,500 seats for guests.

However, Maling said they are still coordinating with director Joyce Bernal with the final arrangements of the broadcasting and production of the SoNA and plans to finalize the preparations next week.

Broadway singer Arman Ferrer is expected to sing the national anthem on 22 July as he will also be performing during the opening session of Congress.

Maling said they will still follow President Rodrigo Duterte’s protocol on the dress code which requires simple Filipiniana dress and Barong Tagalog.