No more SONA fashion show

By Jess Diaz

Change is also coming to the annual State of the Nation Address (SONA) of the President before a joint session of Congress.

Incoming speaker Pantaleon Alvarez has told his colleagues that President Duterte wants a simple first SONA on July 25.

“We have been informed that the President, true to form, does not want pomp and pageantry during his SONA. Simplicity is the byword,” Rep. Rodel Batocabe of party-list group Ako Bicol said yesterday.

He said the July 25 event “will not be a fashion show, unlike previous presidential addresses before the joint session of the House of Representatives and the Senate.”

“The leadership wants us to wear business dress, not fashion show attire. The fashion show will be a thing of the past,” he said.

He added that Alvarez also wants the House secretariat not to roll out the traditional red carpet for VIPs like the President.

Batocabe urged his colleagues to wear modest dress on July 25.

“The SONA is the President’s show. Let us give it to him. Let us not upstage him,” he said.

Duterte is fond of casual attire. During the Air Force anniversary celebration last Tuesday, he paired a traditional barong Tagalog with denim jeans.

“The SONA should not be a parade of stars because the President is just a simple man who doesn’t like walking the red carpet like a Hollywood celebrity,” Batocabe said.

“We are not attending film exhibitions and awarding ceremonies like FAMAS, Oscars or Cannes, where famous actors and actresses are treated to a red carpet welcome,” he said.

He said the SONA is a serious and solemn event where the President unveils his roadmap for the nation.

“Let us keep it that way. Let us not do anything that will distract our people from listening to and focusing on our leader’s message,” he added.