Rundown: What to expect in Duterte’s last SONA

July 22, 2021 - 4:51 PM

The State of Nation Address (SONA) is one of the highly anticipated annual events, as the president discusses the state of the country, proposes legislative measures to Congress, and presents the administration’s future plans.

Few days before the final SONA of President Rodrigo Duterte slated July 26, here are some of the things Filipinos can expect:


Duterte is expected to inform the public about the current situation of our country and his plans with only ten months left in his term.

Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque in a press briefing said Duterte will discuss the social programs, infrastructure projects, peace and security, and foreign policy of the administration.

“So nasapinal na po ang kaniyang talumpati; at based on past SONAs, ayaw ni presidente na binabago-bago iyong kanyang speech. Pero in the end, siya mismo nag-i-edit as he rehearses,” Roque said on Wednesday.

“Now, ang alam ko po ang magiging porma ng kanyang SONA ay titingnan po niya iyong mga nakalipas na limang taon na siya ay naging presidente at po-focus po siya siyempre sa pag-unlad ng bayan, doon sa ating mga socio programs, infrastructure, peace and security, foreign policy,” the spokesman added.

“Sasagutin niya iyong tanong na what and where we are now and looking forward doon sa huling taon ng panunungkulan ng rating presidente,” he furthered.

Limited guests

With the still prevailing health crisis, the number of guests who will physically attend this year’s SONA would still be limited.

The House of Representatives would only allow around 350 people to be present in Batasang Pambansa, according to House Secretary-General Mark Mendoza.

Roque said those who attended the event last year are expected to be physically present in the sixth SONA of the president.

These include some of Duterte’s Cabinet secretaries and other lawmakers.

For the attendees, they would be required to undergo RT-PCR test before the SONA and an antigen test on the day of the event.


Just like last year, Davao City mayor and president’s eldest daughter Sara Duterte would not show up in this year’s SONA as confirmed by Roque.

On the other hand, Vice President Leni Robredo is expected to attend Duterte’s SONA online via teleconferencing app Zoom.

Her spokesperson Barry Gutierrez said Robredo was not invited to attend the SONA physically just like last year.

“VP Leni received the invitation to attend the SONA last Friday. Similar to the previous year, she was not asked to be physically present, but to join via Zoom. She will therefore be attending remotely,” Gutierrez said in a statement.

National anthem singer

Asia’s phoenix Morrissette Amon was chosen to sing “Lupang Hinirang” for this year’s SONA.

This would be accompanied by pre-recorded music from the Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra under conductor Herminigildo Ranera, Radio TV Malacanan (RTVM) Director Demic Pabalan told ABS-CBN news.


The ensemble is also expected to fill the plenary hall with pre-recorded music of Freddie Aguilar’s “Ang Pagbabago.”

Aside from this track, five classic songs will also be played at the Batasang Pambansa. These are Duterte’s favorites namely “Dust in the Wind,” “McArthur Park,” “Yesterday When I was Young,” “What a Wonderful World,” and “Ikaw” by George Canseco.

The last song will be rendered by Leigh Jocson, a singer from Angeles, Pampanga.


This year’s SONA will be under the direction of RTVM veteran director Danny Abad, as revealed by Pabalan. 

The previous SONA of the president was directed by award-winning director Brillante Mendoza and blockbuster film and television director Joyce Bernal.

Stage design

The conspicuous row of plants seen in last year’s SONA is expected to make a return this year.

Duterte's backdrop in SONA 2020
President Rodrigo Roa Duterte delivers his 5th State of the Nation Address at the House of Representatives Complex in Quezon City on July 27, 2020. (Presidential photo)

Following the curvilinear plants-inspired designs of Mindanao, the stage will be “simple, classic, and modest,” PTV-4 Network general manager and co-chairperson of the SONA working committee Kat de Castro told ABS-CBN.