SONA

By | July 16, 2018

The Philippine Constitution, the highest law of the land, says that the President of the Philippines shall address the congress at the opening of its regular session. This is usually known as SONA or The State of the Nation Address.

He may also appear before it at any other time.

Although couched in mandatory language, the first sentence of the cited constitutional provision does not, as a rule, impose a compellable duty on the President.

The President of the Philippines usually discharges the informing power through the state of the nation address, which is delivered at the opening of the regular session of the legislature.

The President during SONA reports on the status of the country, unveils the government’s agenda for the coming year and proposes to congress certain legislative measures.

The State of the Nation Address is an avenue for the President to present his legislative agenda to both houses of congress.

The congress of the Philippines convenes once every year on the 4th Monday of July for its regular session until 30 days before the opening of the next regular session.

Every 4th Monday of July, The President of the Philippines delivers the State Of The Nation Address, which contains his proposals for legislation.

Through this speech, he can influence the course of legislation that Congress can take during the regular session.

This year’s State Of The Nation Address will take place on July 27, 2020.

Remember that the State Of The Nation Address takes place every 4th Monday of July of every year.

 

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Facts about the State of the Nation Address (SONA)

The State of the Nation Address (SONA) is a constitutional obligation and yearly state tradition, wherein the Chief Executive reports on the status of the country, unveils the government’s agenda for the coming year, and proposes to Congress certain legislative measures. The Article VII, Section 23 of the 1987 Constitution stated that: “The President shall address the Congress at the opening of its regular session.” This annual tradition began during the Commonwealth of the Philippines.

In the early years of the Commonwealth, SONA was delivered every fourth Monday of January and was continued until 1972. From 1973 to 1977, SONA was delivered every 21 September which was also the anniversary of the imposition of Martial Law. From 1979 onward, SONA was delivered on the fourth Monday of July, following the provisions of the 1973 and, later, the 1987 Constitutions. There have been 81 State of the Nation Address and this year’s SONA will be the 82nd in history.

Did you know?

President Rodrigo Duterte’s second State of the Nation Address was the second-longest SONA recorded under the Fifth Philippine Republic.

President Duterte’s 2017 SONA lasted for 120 minutes making it the second-longest SONA after former President Benigno Aquino who holds the record for the longest SONA delivered under the Fifth Republic.

Pres. Rodrigo Duterte’s 4th #SONA (22 July 2019) was the 1st time that the podium of the Batasang Pambansa plenary hall was decorated. It was decorated with balod, a Maranao textile.

President Rodrigo Duterte’s second State of the Nation Address was the second-longest SONA recorded under the Fifth Philippine Republic.

President Duterte’s 2017 SONA lasted for 120 minutes making it the second-longest SONA after former President Benigno Aquino who holds the record for the longest SONA delivered under the Fifth Republic.

President Rodrigo Duterte’s first State of the Nation Address was also the first time that a film director took charge of the SONA visuals.

Award-winning director Brillante Mendoza directed the first SONA of President Duterte in July 2016. Mendoza made use of creative shots, switching between extreme close-ups and eye-level shots. The wide variety of artistic shots featured on the national live broadcast of the SONA included lens flares, slow camera panning, and close-ups, which provided an interesting take on the annual state ceremonial spectacle.

President Rodrigo Duterte’s fourth State of the Nation Address was the first time that the podium of the Batasang Pambansa plenary hall was decorated.

A wall drop called balod that adorned the Speaker’s podium was seen behind President Duterte during his fourth SONA on 22 July 2019. It was the first time that there was a wall decor featured behind a President while delivering a SONA speech. The Balod was a product of the local weavers displaced by Marawi Siege.

President Benigno Simeon Aquino III was the only President to deliver his SONAs in Filipino.

All the SONAs delivered since in 1935 were all in English. Only President Aquino delivered his SONA using the National Language. Aside from SONAs delivered, Aquino was notable in using Filipino in delivering his speeches on various occasions.

President Emilio Aguinaldo and President Jose P. Laurel did not deliver SONAs during their Presidency.

While Emilio Aguinaldo delivered an address on 15 September 1899 during the Inaugural Session of the Assembly of Representative more popularly known as the Malolos Congress, and Laurel delivered a message to the special session of the National Assembly on 18 October 1943, these speeches were not SONAs. The 1899 and 1943 Constitution did not mandate the President to deliver an address reporting the state of the nation.

President Elpidio Quirino was the only President to deliver his SONA via radio broadcast.

On 23 January 1950, President Quirino’s 2nd SONA was delivered via radio broadcast. Quirino addressed the Nation while recovering from a kidney stone removal operation at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland, United States

President Ferdinand Marcos delivered the longest and had the most numbers of SONA.

President Ferdinand Marcos’ 1969 SONA was the longest in terms of word count. On 27 January 1969, Marcos delivered his speech consisting of 29,335 words. He also had the most numbers of SONAs delivered with a total of 20.

President Sergio Osmeña delivered only one State of the Nation Address during his Presidency.

On 09 June 1945 President Sergio Osmeña delivered his first and only State of the Nation Address in the temporary Congress Building at Lepanto Street, Manila. Osmeña assumed the Presidency of the Commonwealth in 1944 upon the untimely death of President Manuel L. Quezon in exile. Osmeña served as President from 1944 to 1946.

President Manuel L. Quezon delivered the very first State of the Nation Address on 25 November 1935.

The State of the Nation Address, as an annual state tradition we know today, began ten days upon the inauguration of the Commonwealth of the Philippines. The 1935 Constitution stated that: “The President shall from time to time give the Congress information on the state of the Nation, and recommend to its consideration such measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient.” Quezon delivered the speech during the special session of the National Assembly on 25 November 1935 and stated the first and most urgent need of the newly established government. He delivered a total of 7 SONAs during his Presidency.

 

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