Palace Communications chief Martin Andanar on Friday said Malacañan Palace could be used as an alternative venue for President Rodrigo Duterte’s fifth State of the Nation Address (SONA) on July 27.
All guests will be tested for Covid-19 prior to Duterte’s SONA. Should one test positive, Andanar said it would be up to the Office of the President to decide to move to Malacañang.
“Kapag tumaas ang bilang ng positibo o kung mayroon mang positibo sa mga na-swab na mga panauhin ay magdedesisyon ang Office of the President, kasama ang PSG (Presidential Security Group) kung doon tayo sa Option B which will be done dito sa Malacañang,” Andanar said in an interview over DZRH.
Duterte’s penultimate SONA is scheduled to be delivered at the Batasang Pambansa Complex in Quezon City on Monday.
Planning prior to the address has been “very fluid,” taking into consideration the president’s health, which was at “88 percent,” according to Palace spokesman Harry Roque.
Andanar noted that Malacañang could house a fewer number of guests than the Batasang Pambansa.
“Sa Malacañang, mas kakaunti iyong makaka-attend. Of course, nandiyan pa rin iyong Senate President, iyong Speaker of the House, Presidente tapos ang Executive Secretary at piling mga congressmen at mga senador na lamang. So, mas kakaunti kaysa doon sa Batasang Pambansa,” he said.
As of July 24, three employees of the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) have tested positive for Covid-19.
One had died, while two were active cases, Andanar said.
Duterte is known for delivering lengthy SONA speeches.
His first SONA spanned for 90 minutes; his second lasted for 120 minutes; his third took 48 minutes; while his fourth went on for 93 minutes. John Ezekiel J. Hirro