Malacanang is not discounting the possibility of holding the fifth State of the Nation Address of President Rodrigo Duterte inside the Palace, Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Secretary Martin Andanar said on Friday.
Andanar, in radio interview, said decision shall be made depending on the results of the Polymerase Chain Reaction test for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) to be conducted among the guests who will attend the event on Monday, 27 July.
The 50 invited guests, 25 from the Executive and 25 others from the Legislative, will have to undergo the test hours before the SONA.
Earlier, Malacanang said the president will hold his penultimate SONA at the Batasang Pambansa in Quezon City amid threats of the coronavirus pandemic, but only 50 people will be allowed to witness it physically.
“Pero bago po mangyari ang SONA ay mayroon pong swabbing na mangyayari at diyan natin malalaman kung itutuloy na iyong sa Lower House,” Andanar said in an interview over dzRH.
Should some of the guests test positive for the disease, Malacanang would turn to Option B — that is to hold the SONA inside the Palace.
“Kapag tumaas ang bilang ng positibo o kung mayroon mag positibo sa mga na-swab na mga panauhin ay magdedesisyon ang Office of the President, kasama ang PSG kung doon tayo sa option B which will be done dito sa Malacañang.”
He, however, pointed out that less number of guests will be allowed to physically witness the SONA of the president.
“Sa Malacañang, mas kakaunti iyong makaka-attend. Of course, nandiyan pa rin iyong Senate President, iyong Speaker of the House, Presidente tapos ang Executive Secretary at piling mga congressmen at mga senador na lamang. So, mas kakaunti kaysa doon sa Batasang Pambansa,” Andanar explained