Rjay Zuriaga Castor

One year into his administration, President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. is set to deliver his second State of the Nation Address (SONA) tomorrow, July 24, at the House of Representatives in Batasang Pambansa Complex, Quezon City.

Photo Courtesy of GMA News/Screengrab from RTVM

Marcos is expected to evaluate his accomplishments in the first year of his six-year term in office and present what the Filipino people can expect in the upcoming years of his presidency.

In an ambush interview in Pampanga on July 17, the President said his second SONA would be a “very simple” performance report to Filipinos.
“It’s really very simple. It’s just a performance report for Filipinos to see sa dami ng mga pronouncements, sa dami ng mga salita, kung ito ba ay talagang may kabuluhan o salita lamang,” he said. 

The SONA 2023 is expected to have a Filipiniana or "native" theme, and more than 2,000 guests, including all three living former Philippine presidents — Joseph "Erap" Estrada, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, and Rodrigo Duterte — have confirmed their attendance. 

Former Vice President Leni Robredo, who lost the presidential race to Marcos in 2022, declined the invitation, according to House Secretary General Reginald Velasco. 

Malacañang's official broadcasting arm, Radio Television Malacañang (RTVM), will be directing this year’s SONA, featuring classical Filipino singer Lara Maigue to sing the Philippine national anthem.

The President is expected to deliver his speech at approximately 4 p.m. before a joint session of the House and Senate at the plenary hall of the Batasan Complex, with 311 House members and 24 senators in attendance.

Security, traffic management

The Philippine National Police (PNP) also ensures tight security and manages the expected heavy traffic. According to PNP Chief Gen. Benjamin Acorda Jr., more than 22,000 police officers would be deployed to secure the SONA. 

As heavy traffic is expected along Commonwealth Avenue and around the Batasang Pambansa Complex during Marcos’ SONA, the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) has prepared alternative routes for motorists.

The MMDA has also deployed 1,354 personnel to manage vehicular and pedestrian traffic in the area, provide assistance during emergencies, and conduct road and sidewalk clearing operations. 

They will work with the Task Force SONA 2023, PNP, Quezon City Police District, Presidential Security Group, and Quezon City government.

Given the anticipated influx of people and traffic, the Quezon City government has taken preemptive measures by suspending classes in all levels, including public and private schools, on Monday. 

People’s SONA

Various progressive groups are also coming together nationwide, launching a series of initiatives and activities leading up to a significant mass protest event known as the People's SONA.

Transport group Manibela is also set to stage a three-day transportation strike starting on July 24. This is to voice their opposition to the divisive public utility vehicle (PUV) modernization program. Manibela chairman Mar Valbuena said the government has failed to adequately address the concerns surrounding the modernization program. 

Political alliance Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) said thousands of protesters are expected to gather along Commonwealth Avenue in Quezon City on July 24. The protest will commence at 9 a.m. at the Commission on Human Rights main office, several hours before Marcos delivers his speech at Batasang Pambansa.

In Iloilo, progressive groups will also stage their annual “State of the People's Address” protest action, also scheduled on July 24. Their primary objective is to amplify the voices of various sectors, including farmers, fishers, drivers, urban poor, and smaller operators. 

Edited by Phylline Calubayan