1,700 officials expected in Aquino’s 3rd address to nation-A A +A
Thursday, July 19, 2012
MANILA (Updated 3:25 p.m.) -- More than 1,700 former and incumbent public officials are expected to attend President Benigno Aquino III’s third State of the Nation Address (Sona) on Monday, July 23, a House official said.
House Secretary General Marilyn Barua-Yap said around a thousand people can sit inside the plenary hall of the Batasan Pambansa but at least 1,700 -- and counting -- are expected to attend.
Apart from the 285 congressmen and 23 senators, around 80 former lawmakers have also confirmed to attend the state affair.
Other dignitaries, including former presidents, foreign diplomats and local government officials, are also expected in the Sona.
Physical and security preparations have also been completed as early as last week. Walls have been painted and the perimeter security has been set up, Yap said.
“We’ve put up a perimeter security considering that the number of informal settlers around the Batasan has increased,” Yap said.
Around P2 million will be spent for the state event, with the bulk of the amount allotted for food.
Yap said the House of Representatives was able to save money after the Quezon City Government helped in the perimeter painting, and the cleaning of the Batasan Pambansa. Instead of the usual fresh flowers, the House also opted for plants as display.
The Secretary General also said the Batasan Pambansa will be “locked down” starting Friday and only authorized personnel with access passes will be allowed to enter the premises.
House officials have also conducted a dry run of the program for Monday’s Sona.
Upon President Aquino’s arrival at the Batasan Pambansa, he will be ushered in by the chief of staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, and the sergeant-at-arms of both the Senate and the House of Representatives.
House deputy speakers and at least five more congressmen, along with House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. and Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile will be the President’s welcoming committee.
“The welcoming committee is not necessarily composed of allies of the President. They are representatives of women, and probably, Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao,” Yap said.
After a little dialogue, Belmonte and Enrile will then proceed to the rostrum inside the plenary hall.
Once the two congressional leaders have taken their seats, President Aquino will be escorted to the session hall with congressional guards lined up to welcome him.
Aquino will deliver his Sona at 4 p.m. (Kathrina Alvarez/Sunnex)