8 senators to physically attend Duterte’s SONA on July 26 – Sotto

Robie de Guzman   •   July 22, 2021   •   473

MANILA, Philippines – Only eight senators will physically attend the final State of the Nation Address (SONA) of President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday, July 26.

Based on the list shared to the media, the following senators will physically attend Duterte’s SONA which will be held at the Batasang Pambansa Complex:

  • Senate President Vicente Sotto III
  • Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri
  • Senator Ronald dela Rosa
  • Senator Sherwin Gatchalian
  • Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go
  • Senator Imee Marcos
  • Senator Ramon Bong Revilla Jr.
  • Senator Francis Tolentino

Sotto said senators who have not manifested their intention to attend the SONA physically will be hearing Duterte’s address virtually.

The Office of the Senate Secretary earlier said that lawmakers and their staff who will attend Duterte’s SONA should be fully vaccinated and should yield negative results for COVID-19 RT-PCR and antigen tests.

Attendees will be required to present their vaccination cards indicating that they have completed their doses two weeks prior to the president’s SONA.

They are also required to undergo RT-PCR tests two days before the event, and antigen tests on Monday at the Batasang Pambansa Complex.

SONA attendees will also be required to wear Presidential Security Group-prescribed face masks, and face shields embedded with QR codes while inside the Plenary building.

US Defense chief Austin to meet with Duterte on July 29 – Palace

Robie de Guzman   •   July 29, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte is set to meet with United States Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin III at Malacañang on Thursday, July 29.

In a statement, the Palace said Austin will pay a courtesy call on Duterte upon his arrival in the Philippines.

Austin is on an official visit to Southeast Asia that includes stops in Singapore, Vietnam, and the Philippines. The visit aims to bolster the US’ ties with the said nations.

He will stay in Manila until Friday.

The US Defense chief’s visit highlights the 75th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the Philippines and the United States and the 70th anniversary of the signing of the PH-US Mutual Defense Treaty, the Palace said.

Executive Secretary Salvador Mediadea, Secretary of Foreign Affairs Teodoro Locsin Jr., Secretary of National Defense Delfin Lorenzana, Philippine Ambassador to the United States Jose Manuel Romualdez, and Presidential Assistant on Foreign Affairs Robert Borje are expected to attend the courtesy call, it added.

51 QC cops deployed during SONA test positive for COVID-19

Marje Pelayo   •   July 28, 2021


Fifty-one of the 82 new COVID-19 positive cops of the Quezon City Police District (QCPD) were deployed to the security team during the sixth state of the nation address (SONA) of President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday (July 26).

According to QCPD Director Police BGen. Antonio Yarra, the concerned cops were among the 161 cops of the Station 3 Talipapa Station who had their RT-PCR Test on July 23, in which results were released only on Tuesday (July 27).

The 51 cops were assigned at the SONA’s route security along the Commonwealth Avenue and Civil Disturbance Management Team at the U.P. Techno Hub on Monday.

“Ninety percent of our personnel were already fully vaccinated and we ensured for deployment during SONA,” Yarra argued.

“They are 100 percent healthy and they are not showing any symptoms for the COVID virus and most of them are fully vaccinated,” he added.

At present, the COVID-positive cops were all quarantined at the HOPE facility in Quezon City.

The QCPD, however, still has no report if the cops were infected with the more infectious Delta variant.

The QCPD chief also confirmed that they are currently conducting intensified contact tracing efforts to trace those who had close contact with the COVID-positive cops.

“Yung contact tracing hindi naman nagmamadali. Ang importante diyan accurate ang magiging result. So wala naman tayong sinet na timeline. Ang importante yung contact tracing at makakuha tayo ng courses of action to contain the spread of COVID in PS3 contact tracing hindi minamadali, accurate,” Yarra said.

Meanwhile, the infected cops will temporarily be replaced so that operations at the Talipapa Station 3 will not be hampered.

Yarra asked the public to refrain from going to QCPD Station 3 while disinfection is being done within its premises. MNP (with reports from Lea Ylagan)

Palace welcomes Robredo initiatives in fight vs COVID-19

Robie de Guzman   •   July 28, 2021

Vice President Leni Robredo

MANILA, Philippines – Malacañang on Wednesday agreed with Vice President Leni Robredo’s recent remark on the need to prioritize the response to the COVID-19 crisis as it welcomed the latter’s efforts in the fight against the pandemic.

In a statement, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said the Palace appreciates Robredo’s initiatives to ensure success in combating COVID-19.

“We welcome the initiatives of the Vice President in the fight against COVID-19 which she enumerated in her Ulat sa Bayan and we are in no way diminishing her efforts in this trying time,” he said.

“Any contribution, including policy recommendations from the political opposition, to ensure the successful fight against the pandemic, is much appreciated,” he added.

Robredo earlier said that the response to the pandemic and its effects should be the priority and that it should be mirrored in the budget allocation, meeting agenda and other government efforts to raise vaccine confidence.

She also suggested for the government to offer incentives to those who are hesitant to take the COVID-19 vaccine instead of threatening to apprehend them.

Malacañang also agreed with Robredo’s message that it is the Filipinos who helped and came to the rescue of fellow Filipinos amid the pandemic.

Roque said that in fact, President Rodrigo Duterte paid tribute to all frontline workers during his final State of the Nation Address on Monday.

“We reiterate: Now is the time to focus on COVID-19 and help the national government in achieving population protection; so together, we will recover and have a happy Christmas and a better future for all Filipinos,” he added.


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