President Duterte cuts short written speech from 28 to 19 pages after SONA rehearsals


(Eagle News) – President Duterte has decided to cut short his official speech for the State of the Nation Address (SONA) on Monday, July 22, personally editing it from 28 pages to just 19 pages, according to Communications Secretary Martin Andanar.

He said that the president decided to shorten the prepared speech during the SONA practice Friday night, July 19.

“For the past three years, siya talaga ang nag-eedit ng speech niya,” Andanar said.

If President Duterte would stick to only the written speech, the SONA would run from 45 minutes to about an hour, he said.

But the President is known for his adlibs or extemporaneous speeches.

The President’s 2018 SONA lasted for only 48 minutes as he mostly read then the 16-page prepared speech.

His 2017 SONA, on the other hand, lasted for two hours, while his 2016 SONA was about an hour-and-a-half long or 92 minutes to be exact.

Andanar, however, said that the 2019 SONA of the President was still being fine-tuned.

“The original 28-page speech was cut to 19 pages. We are still revising the speech,” Andanar said on Saturday. “It’s 98 percent done.”

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo earlier said that Duterte’s SONA would be “short” as there had already been three pre-SONA briefings where the Duterte administration’s previous achievements had already been discussed.

But the President’s fourth SONA is expected to still touch on the government’s war against drugs and corruption, as well as his plans for the remainder of his term.

President Duterte had also said before that he would educate the public why his decisions regarding the West Philippine Sea were within the framework of the Constitution, and not unconstitutional as insisted by critics led by Vice-President Leni Robredo and Supreme Court Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio.

President Duterte’s rehearsals for his SONA on Friday night ended at around 10 p.m. He was assisted by Panelo, Andanar, and former Special Assistant to the President and now senator Christopher “Bong” Go. Also present at the SONA practice was film director Joyce Bernal who will direct the President’s fourth SONA.