Looking back: SONA trivia

(UPDATED) President Rodrigo Duterte is set to deliver his 5th State of the Nation Address (SONA) on Monday, July 27.

Before listening to what Duterte has to tell the country and seeing what happens during the SONA itself, here's interesting trivia about the SONAs of past presidents.

Manuel Quezon

QUEZON. Former president Manuel Quezon delivers the country's first SONA.

The Official Gazette

The first SONA by a Philippine president was delivered by then president Manuel Quezon in 1935. He delivered a total of 7 SONAs during his presidency.

All his SONAs were delivered at the Legislative Building in Manila, and had a combined total of 40,684 words.

The last SONA he delivered was in 1941. No SONA was delivered from 1942 to 1944 because of the Japanese occupation.

Jose P Laurel

Then president Jose Laurel is one of two Philippine presidents (the other being Emilio Aguinaldo) who didn’t deliver a SONA. Constitutions during their time didn't require presidents to address the Congress in its opening session.

Sergio Osmeña

President Sergio Osmeña delivered his first and only SONA in 1945. He delivered his 4,525-word speech at the Temporary Congress Building at Lepanto Street, Manila.

Manuel Roxas

Then president Manuel Roxas delivered 3 SONAs during his presidency from 1946 to 1948.

His 1946 SONA was delivered before the last Congress under the Commonwealth, while his last two SONAs were delivered before the First Congress under the republic government.

All were held at the Temporary Congress Building, and had a combined total of 33,690 words.

Elpidio Quirino

OUTSIDE OF THE PHILIPPINES. President Elpidio Quirino delivered his second SONA via a radio broadcast inside the Johns Hopkins Hospital in the US on January 23, 1950.

Gov.PH

Then president Elpidio Quirino delivered a total of 5 SONAs during his presidency from 1949 to 1953. Four of them were delivered at the House Session Hall of the Legislative Building in Manila.

His 1950 SONA, however, was delivered via radio broadcast aired live before Congress. During that time, he was confined at the Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland, USA.

This made him the first and only Philippine president who was not able to appear before Congress to deliver his speech.

His 5 SONAs had a combined total of 25,604 words.

Ramon Magsaysay

Then president Ramon Magsaysay delivered a total of 4 SONAs during his presidency from 1954 to 1957.

All were delivered at the House Session Hall of the Legislative Building in Manila.

His 4 SONAs have a combined total of 19,208 words.

Carlos Garcia

Then president Carlos Garcia delivered 4 SONAs during his presidency from 1958 to 1961.

All SONAs were delivered also at the House Session Hall of the Legislative Building in Manila.

His 4 SONAs had a combined 32,447 words.

Diosdado Macapagal

Then president Diosdado Macapagal delivered a total of 4 SONAs during his presidency from 1961 to 1965.

All his SONAs were delivered also at the House Session Hall of the Legislative Building in Manila.

His 4 SONAs had a combined total of 37,412 words.

While his 1964 SONA is currently the 4th shortest ever delivered (with 2,838 words), his 1963 and 1965 SONAs are among the longest (with 13,264 and 12,851 words, respectively).

Ferdinand Marcos

MARCOS. Then president Ferdinand Marcos delivers his second SONA.

The late dictator Ferdinand Marcos delivered the most number of SONAs – a total of 20. That’s more than twice the record of the president with the second most number of SONAs (Arroyo with 9).

Similar to his predecessors, he delivered his first 7 SONAs (1966-1972) at the House Session Hall of the Legislative Building.

After the imposition of martial law and the abolition of Congress in 1972, his SONA was delivered in different areas – Malacañang in 1973 and 1974, Quirino Grandstand in 1975, the Philippine International Convention Center in 1976, and Rizal Park in 1977. During these years, the SONA was delivered on the anniversary of the imposition of martial law on September 21.

The 1973 Constitution set the SONA to every 4th Monday of July, and brought it back to the Batasang Pambansa. The date was strictly followed, except in 1983 when the SONA was delivered on January 17.

Marcos' 20 SONAs had a combined total of 212,510 words. Of all the 77 SONAs so far delivered by Philippine presidents, 6 of his speeches are the longest in Philippine history. His 1969 speech is the longest SONA, thus far, going by word count.

Corazon Aquino

Then president Corazon Aquino delivered a total of 5 SONAs during her presidency from 1987 to 1991.

Her 5  SONAs had a combined total of 21,213 words.

Fidel Ramos

Then president Fidel Ramos delivered a total of 6 SONAs during his presidency from 1992 to 1997.

His 6 SONAs had a total of 30,760 words.

Joseph Estrada

Then president Joseph Estrada delivered a total of 3 SONAs during his presidency from 1998 to 2000.

His 3 SONAs had a total of 16,436 words.

SONA. Then president Gloria Arroyo delivers her 7th of 9 SONAs.

Gloria Macapagal Arroyo

Then president Gloria Macapagal Arroyo delivered a total of 9 SONAs, from 2001 to 2009.

Her 9 SONAs had a combined total of 35,572 words. Her 2005 speech is the shortest SONA, going by word count.

Benigno Aquino III

Aquino delivered a total of 6 SONAs during his presidency from 2010 to 2016.

He delivered his very first SONA (2010) entirely in Filipino – the first and only president, so far, to do so.

His 6 SONAs had a total of 52,091 words, almost double the longest SONA of his mother.

Rodrigo Duterte

Duterte's first SONA in 2016 contained 9,451 words and lasted for one hour and 32 minutes. 

His second in 2017 contained 12,527 words and lasted for almost two hours.

Duterte's 2018 SONA, meanwhile, is his shortest. His speech latest around 50 minutes. The President also mostly read from the 16-page prepared speech.

Duterte's 4th SONA in 2019 lasted  93 minutes long, or one hour and 33 minutes.

– Rappler.com

Sources: State of the Nation Addresses, SONA Trivia, and SONA Traditions and History from the Official Gazette

Renz Regis is a Rappler intern.