MANILA -- The House of Representatives is all geared up as President Ferdinand "Bongbong" R. Marcos Jr. is set to deliver his first State of the Nation Address (SONA) at the Plenary Hall of the Batasang Pambansa on Monday, a House official said.
In an interview on Tuesday, House Inter-Parliamentary Relations and Special Affairs Bureau (IPRSAB) Executive Director Lourdes Rajini Rye said they would ensure a smooth event execution and proper adherence to health protocols on July 25, when President Marcos addresses the Filipinos about his plans and legislative agenda.
The IPRSAB of the House Inter-Parliamentary and Public Affairs Department (IPPAD) handles the distribution of invitations, seat cards, protocol, food and ushering of guests during SONA.
Rye said the planning for this year's SONA began as early as May, immediately following the elections.
"On our own, we started siguro during election time. And then pina-approve na namin kaagad iyong invitations, seat cards, 'yong lahat ng collateral sa loob ng invitation (And then we had the invitations, seat cards, and all the collaterals approved immediately)," she said.
Rye said the IPRSAB had coordinated with the Presidential Security Group (PSG) for the screening of the guests.
"Compared to previous SONA, full house na tayo (already), full attendance. And then we worked closely with PSG for the screening of the guests. We never screened guests with health and safety protocols in the past, so now that's an added feature," she said.
She said invitations have yet to be distributed to over a thousand guests.
"Kasi syempre wala pa tayong guests sa Office of the President (OP), mga guests sa Senate. Ang inaayos namin ngayon iyong mga House members saka mga plus one nila, governors mga ganon (Of course, we still have no list of guests from OP and Senate. We already preparing the list of House members and their plus one, and governors)" she said.
Rye said snacks and cocktails would be served at the House South Wing Lobby right after Marcos delivers his SONA.
Meanwhile, Engineering and Physical Facilities Bureau Executive Director Renato Dela Torre said the Engineering and Physical Facilities Department undertook several projects within the House premises as part of its SONA preparations.
These include the installation of an ultraviolet germicidal irradiation system inside the plenary hall for added protection during the full face-to-face SONA, as well as new video and sound equipment.
The House has also been conducting cleaning and clearing operations, together with the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority.
Dela Torre said the Engineering and Physical Facilities Department is expected to wrap up its preparations on or before July 23.
House Sergeant-at-Arms Rodelio Jocson said the House has been conducting a series of inter-agency coordinating conferences to discuss security preparations and contingency plans.
“Nagkaroon tayo ng inter-agency coordinating conferences wherein pinag-usapan natin ang mga bagay na dapat plantsahin para pagdating sa SONA, smooth na yung lahat (We conducted inter-agency coordianting conferences wherein we discussed things need to be ironed out so that everything is smooth during SONA),” he said during an interview.
Jocson said Tuesday’s inter-agency meeting was attended by Philippine National Police chief Lt. Gen. Vicente Danao Jr., as well as a coordinating conference with the PSG led by Col. Nelson Aluad.
He said the security template that is used every SONA is subject to modifications based on the number of guests attending the event.
"Sa ngayon patuloy pa rin yung ating health screening protocol natin para sa safety katulad ng dati at nadagdagan naman ngayon ng RT-PCR para masiguro natin lahat ng pumasok ay walang problema (We would still continue the health screening protocols to ensure safety like the usual. WE also included the RT-PCR [requirement] to make sure that there would be no problem for those attending),” Jocson said.
He said basic requirements such as the "No Fly" Zone and signal jamming during the SONA would be implemented. (PNA)