MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte’s speech for his second State of the Nation Address (SONA) is not yet finished not because he has nothing much to say but because his one-year administration has many accomplishments to present to the people on Monday that need vetting.
This was according to Communications Secretary Martin Andanar, who on Thursday said that the President’s speech was still a work in progress.
He said government agencies under the executive branch had submitted to Duerte a number of achievements that these offices want included in the chief executive’s SONA.
“Sa ngayon, ang aming mga departamento (ay) nagbibigay ng kanilang mga achievements. Gusto isama lahat [As of the moment, the departments are submitting their achievements. They want to include everything],” he told radio dzRH radio in an interview.
“But then again, at the end of the day, si Presidente pa rin ang pipili kung ano ang para sa kanya ay malaking achievements. And at the same time, napakaraming input po si Presidente doon sa SONA. Baka gusto niyang may bagong sabihin sa taumbayan. Kaya ngayon, 70 to 80 percent pa lang ‘yong speech,” he added.
[But then again, at the end of the day, it will still be the President who will choose what he thinks are the biggest achievements. And at the same time, the President has lots of input for the SONA. He may want to say something new to the people. So as of the moment, the speech is still at 70 to 80 percent.]
He said he would fly to Davao City Thursday, July 20, to assist the President in finalizing the speech for his second SONA.
Andanar said that after helping the chief executive put the finishing touches to the speech, he could already give a clear picture on how long the address would be but assured that it would be no longer than the previous one.
Last year, Duterte delivered his first SONA for 100 minutes or one hour and 40 minutes.
Asked about the accomplishments or issues that the President would mention in his next SONA, Andanar said the President will possibly cite the aid and commitments of countries like Japan and China to the Philippines, the government’s campaign against illegal drugs, and the return of the illegal drug trade inside the New Bilibid Prison.
But Andanar said these might also change. “At the end of the day, baka baguhin ni Presidente ‘yong nakasulat sa [the President might revise what is written in the] speech.”
‘State of the nation, not state of our fashion’
He urged the public to listen to Duterte’s second SONA because it would serve as a guide to where the administration would bring the country in the next five years.
As for the awaited showcase of lavish outfits among lawmakers and their espouses during the SONA, Andanar said the President would appreciate if his address would not turn into a fashion show amid the crisis in Marawi.
“Ito (ay) state of the nation, hindi naman state of our fashion. ‘Yong mga kababayan natin sa Marawi ay hirap na hirap tapos magpa-fashion show tayo. Napaka-insensitve naman natin [It’s the state of the nation, not the state of our fashion. Our countrymen in Marawi are facing hardships and then we would have a fashion show. That would make us very insensitive],” he said.
Members of the Cabinet were already instructed to dress simply. Barong and black pants will do, according to Andanar.
He said a team of interpreters had also been organized for the foreign dignitaries who would attend the event at the Batasang Pambansa in Quezon City.
A main interpreter will be in charge of translating the President’s speech from Tagalog or Bisaya to English. Then a second set of interpreters will translate the English words into the native language of foreign guests.
Award-winning filmmaker Brillante Mendoza will again direct Duterte’s SONA. Andanar said Mendoza had already inspected the Batasang Pambansa Complex.
Andar added that the Communications office was planning to put up visual presentations accompanying the President’s speech that would either be flashed on the screens in Congress or shown on television.