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P4.7 M allocated for Duterte’s SONA 2019
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P4.7 M allocated for Duterte’s SONA 2019

July 12 ------ Around P4.7 million has been allocated for the fourth State of the Nation Address (SONA) of President Duterte. House Acting Secretary-General Dante Roberto Maling said this year’s SONA budget is P200,000 less than last year’s P4.9 million appropriations. “Basically, the preparation has been the same through the years, we only introduced minor details,” he said in a press conference Thursday. He said the public can brace for a “simple” SONA, which will be attended by 1,500 guests, including former Presidents, members of the diplomatic corps, former local government officials, and invitees of the members of Congress.

Maling said the dress code for the President’s SONA will be simple business or Filipiniana attire. He said they have yet to receive the confirmation from former Presidents and former government officials. The attendance of the members of the Presidential Family will only be known on the SONA day itself, he said. Theater actor and tenor Arman Ferrer is expected to sing the national anthem at during the opening of the 18th Congress and during the SONA, he said. Maling also said that they are still finalizing the menu and is expected to be decided next week. “Varied Filipino foods, may nag submit ng European foods, konting Caribbean, konting salad. Wala pang final choice talaga,” Maling said.

On security concerns, House Sergeant-at-Arms Romeo Prestoza, a retired AFP major general, said they are prepared for any eventuality and they are in constant and close coordination with the Armed Forces and other security agencies. “Wala pa naman substantial [security threat]. Wala pa namang nakakarating na actual threat. We have a very good coordination with the Armed Forces,” he said after the military identified that one of the two perpetrators of the twin explosions in Indanan town, Sulu, last June 28 as Filipino suicide bomber Norman Lasuca. “If meron man, we would be prepared [to address it],” he added.

Prestoza, an intelligence officer for 27 years, said they are “considering” such security concern in their preparations. “We consider those things, we initiate direct contact with NICA (National Intelligence Coordinating Agency), ISAFP (Intelligence Service of the Armed Forces of the Philippines) and other intelligence units,” he said.

Source: mb.com.ph