A different SONA


HOW will the State of the Nation Address of President Rodrigo Duterte be different from past SONAs?

Known to ignore tradition, Duterte has expressed his desire to keep the event simple. Thus, there will be no parade of women in sumptuous gowns and bedazzling jewelry. There will also be no red carpet to walk on.

The President will not be escorted by the welcoming committee into the session hall of the House of Representatives. However, a band will play a marching song when he leaves the event.

Also, Duterte, the first president from Mindanao, will not run videos of testimonials during his speech.

The annual practice of delivering a SONA began with former president Manuel Quezon in 1936.

Most presidents after Quezon, except for Jose Laurel, followed the tradition, but not all SONAs were delivered the same way.

As of 2015, 66 SONAs had been delivered. The longest speech was delivered by former President Ferdinand Marcos in 1969 at 29,335 words. The shortest was former President Gloria Arroyo’s in 2005.

Marcos also holds the record of delivering the most number of SONAs at 20.

The first time a SONA was delivered at the House of Representatives in Quezon City was in 1978.

Former President Elpidio Quirino was the only president to deliver an address via a radio broadcast, which was aired live in Congress while in session.

The only SONA delivered entirely in Filipino was that of former President Benigno Aquino 3rd on July 26, 2010.

There were two president who did not deliver SONAs because the constitutions during their time made no provision or requirement for a report to Congress — Emilio Aguinaldo and Laurel.

From 1942 to 1944, during the Japanese Occupation, there were no SONAs delivered. In 1986, upon her ascension to the Presidency, Corazon Aquino did not deliver a SONA. However, on June 4, 1986, she gave a speech in Malacañang in the form of a panel discussion to mark her first 100 days in office.

Catherine Valente


Please follow our commenting guidelines.


  1. It will be nice if he deliver it in pilipino like pnoy did. If he really want to be more nationalist flavor.

    How about if he delivers the SONA in Cebuano Bisayan? Would hat also be more nationalist?

  2. Sayang, no fashion show today!

    Paano na ang mga fashionistang tulisan at ang kanilang mga asawang mga mangungulimbat?

    Sure I’m going to miss Mommy Dionesia. Nagpatahi pa naman yata siya ng gown na pang Junior-Senior prom.

    Sana pinayagan na rin sila! Ibawal lang ang media sa red carpet, and only PresDU30 during his speech would appear in TV. No other faces would be beamed.
    Hayaan nating Congress lang ang mag-piyesta sa kanilang mga gowns and barongs. Ang habol lang naman nila, makipagtalbugan sa mga kapwa nila corrupt at makapagpa-charming sa mga viewers na ninanakawan nila.

  3. President R. R. Duterte will be the only President who will probably address the correct State of the Nation. The Nation is in a dire need of true leadership in all aspect of government management. Law and order is the main problem, then comes the economy, and poverty. Please address this topic, with no make up or any fan fare.

    • I totally agree! I think he will give the more honest assessment of the state of the nation. Keep it simple indeed, Mr. President. All that pomp and pageantry just underlines the degree of corruption in the government….serves no practical or honourable purpose.