MANILA, Philippines – Preparations are underway at the Batasang Pambansa for the second State of the Nation Address (SONA) of President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday, July 24.
The plenary session hall – where Duterte will deliver his speech before politicians, incumbent lawmakers and their spouses, Cabinet members, Supreme Court justices, members of the diplomatic corps, and other special guests – is already closed for security reasons.
The red carpet has been laid out for the program on Monday.
The main lobby and the toilets in the Batasan, the headquarters of the House of Representatives, are being repaired.
Former presidents Fidel Ramos, Joseph Estrada, and Gloria Macapagal Arroyo are expected to attend Duterte's SONA. Former president Benigno Aquino III, however, has sent his regrets for the second time.
Security for the event will be tight, with only invited guests and accredited media personnel allowed to enter the Batasan on Monday.
National Capital Region Police Office chief Director Oscar Albayalde said there will no shields, batons, or firearms for cops tasked to manage protests during the SONA.