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Wednesday, July 24, 2024

House to ban sloganeering on dresses during SONA

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House Secretary General Reginald Velasco said Tuesday guests wearing outfits containing protest, derogatory statements or illustrations will be banned from attending President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.’s third State of the Nation Address (SONA) on July 22.

“This is a formal event. We will be very strict in the expression of protest in a SONA outfit. They’ll be requested to change  because it is the SONA. It is not a day of protest,” Velasco told reporters.

Velasco said that a traditional jeep illustration embroidered on a SONA outfit would be allowed since it celebrates a part of the country’s culture.

But a SONA outfit with the slogan “No to jeepney modernization” is prohibited, he said.

“If you want to protest on SONA day, there are areas reserved for your protest or demonstration. This is not the time and place to express protests. You can do that after,” Velasco added.

Velasco, the lower chamber’s secretary-general, also disclosed that “around PHP20 million” to serve three meals and snacks to up to 5,000 lawmakers, guests, and congressional personnel.

He said his office expects over 2,000 guests to attend the event, saying this would be “the highest in history.”

Velasco said the SONA’s food budget was quite reasonable given that “our security personnel alone are in the hundreds. The Congress personnel are at 2,000 to 3,000 then the guests are around 2,000. That’s (amount) just about right.”

Velasco clarified that the announced budget is only a rough estimation of what serving breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks  would cost because “we cannot reveal [the final figure yet] since caterers also have security concerns.”

“I think this will be the biggest [number of SONA attendees] in history, by the number of confirmations we have received. They really want to hear the President or they want to be involved in the state affairs. Being invited to the SONA is an honor,” the secretary-general added.

However, Vice President Sara Duterte is not among those invited who have confirmed their intention to attend the event as of Tuesday.

“We cannot speak for the Vice President. Let her and the office decide if they will attend or not,” Velasco said.

We’re not forcing anyone to attend the SONA,” he emphasized.


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