House of Representatives Secretary-General Mark Llandro Mendoza (Photo courtesy of House Press and Public Affairs Bureau)

MANILA – House of Representatives Secretary-General Mark Llandro Mendoza on Wednesday said 70 to 80 percent of invitees to President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.'s first State of the Nation Address (SONA) have confirmed their attendance.

"We sent out mga around 1,360 invitations, so we're just waiting for the confirmation. Pero around 70 to 80 percent nagconfirm na (Around 70 to 80 percent have already confirmed their attendance)," Mendoza said.

Mendoza said former President and Speaker now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and former President Joseph Estrada have confirmed their attendance, while former President Rodrigo Duterte and former Vice President Leni Robredo have yet to send their replies.

He said Vice President Sara Duterte will be attending the big event.

Others who are expected to grace the SONA are members of the diplomatic corps and the country's justices, he noted.

"Lahat ng (All the) governors were also invited," he said.

Meanwhile, he noted that Marcos has preferred a simple SONA.

"Ang gusto ng Malacañang, ng Pangulo ay maging simple at more on traditional (ang SONA). Walang glamor, basta simple lang (Malacañang and the President want a simple and more traditional (SONA). No glamor, just simple)," he said.

He said among the SONA performers is a choir group from Ilocos who will sing the national anthem.

As to the SONA rehearsals to be done by film director Paul Soriano, Mendoza said he is unsure if it will be on Thursday or Friday.

Mendoza also unveiled the marker on the renovation of the Plenary Hall.

The marker states that the renovation “is a manifestation of the collective commitment of the House Members of the 18th Congress to uphold the institution’s dignity, preserve the nation’s legislative history, and enrich the Filipino people’s democratic heritage.”

It further provides that the renovation was done through the initiative and stewardship of Speaker Lord Allan Velasco.

The marker bears the name of the officials of the 18th Congress led by Speaker Velasco, Majority Leader Ferdinand Martin Romualdez, Minority Leader Joseph Stephen Paduano, all the Deputy Speakers, Committee on Accounts Chairman Rep. Paolo Duterte, Mendoza, as well as Sergeant-at-Arms Rodelio Jocson.

In his remarks during the event, Mendoza said the Plenary Hall was built with an original capacity of 100 House members.

"So through the years, lumaki itong members (The number of members grew). Last time, (there were) 316 (members),” he said.

With the increasing number of members, he said it is possible that their seats may reach the gallery area.

Meanwhile, in an interview, Deputy Secretary General for Engineering and Physical Facilities Department Floro Banaybanay said the House Plenary Hall is equipped with modern technology, including audio and video broadcast equipment, as well as remote cameras.

The session hall also has additional new seats and tables, aesthetic designed wood panels, and better lighting fixtures

The Plenary Hall now has 367 seats for lawmakers and 1,357 gallery seats.

Banaybanay said the session hall is earthquake-proof, as its infrastructure have been continuously updated since five years ago to comply with the standard Building Code and other necessary requirements. (PNA)