MANILA – The House of Representatives has put in place contingency measures for any eventuality that may arise during President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr.'s second State of the Nation Address (SONA) on July 24, an official assured on Friday.
House Engineering and Physical Facilities Department (EPFD) Executive Director Renato Dela Torre said the House's evacuation plan is among the top priorities for the SONA 2023 contingency preparations to ensure the safety of the attendees.
Dela Torre said the evacuation plan includes emergency scenarios, such as earthquake, fire and even terrorism.
Personnel from different departments have been assigned specific roles to effectively execute the plan.
“Public awareness regarding safety measures is taken seriously,” he said.
He said close coordination with the Legislative Security Bureau (LSB) has been established to effectively manage various emergency scenarios, since the bureau is the service unit responsible for the implementation of the evacuation plan.
Dela Torre said the EPFD’s preparations for SONA 2023 have been ongoing for months, covering the House Plenary Hall, road networks, grounds and buildings, sound system and electrical works.
House Secretary General Reginald Velasco earlier said the preparations for the event would continue even as the Batasang Pambansa Complex in Quezon City has been placed on lockdown until Sunday as part of safety and security measures.
"The idea there is to reinspect everything. Not just the security, but all the equipment, all the personnel. Tapos meron dyan mga simulation exercises. So para pagdating ng Monday, perfect 'yong lugar and 'yong personnel (And we would also conduct simulation exercises. So that the place and personnel deployment will be perfect by Monday), " Velasco said.
Velasco said aside from the SONA, the House workforce also prepares for the opening of the Second Regular Session of the 19th Congress.
"Monday morning, we re-open our doors kasi may session (because there's a session), 'yong beginning of the Second Session of the 19th Congress. So as early as 5 a.m., magbubukas uli tayo for the personnel and essential staff na kailangan doon sa opening ng session (we are going to open the venue again for the personnel and essential staff because they need to be there for the opening of the session)," he said.
He said additional preparations include testing of the equipment and sound system, guest route inspections, cleaning and sanitation procedures, and other last-minute adjustments.
Broadcast media organizations will also be permitted to test the Radio Television Malacañang's (RTVM) signal reception on Sunday, from 1 a.m. to 3 p.m. during the lockdown period. (PNA)