By Sammy F. Martin
MANILA, July 21 (PNA) — An official of the Houseof Representatives on Tuesday said they expect record-high attendance on the sixth and last State of the Nation Address (SONA) of President Benigno Aquuino III on Monday (July 27).
In a press conference, House Secretary General Marilyn Barua-Yap said they are going to treat the President’s last SONA like the previous ones, with all of it as special as the last.
“Usually, the last SONA of the incumbent president and the first SONA of the new president have the biggest attendance,” Yap told House reporters.
Yap said they have sent out as much as 2,700 invitations for guests in the plenary.
While the Secretary General considers all SONAs special, she said it is the first time they invited a celebrity to sing the national anthem.
Yap said she only hoped to invite a children’s choir to perform, but she was told a colleague lived nearby Asia’s Got Talent finalist Gwyneth Dorado in Antipolo.
When asked, the 10-year-old singer gladly agreed, she said.
Yap said she has requested for a Php10,000 talent fee for Dorado. She said Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. usually gives money for such occasions while her office has given a Php3,000 to Php5,000 token for Dorado’s gown.
“She’s the first celebrity and the youngest. Maganda din na may fresh for SONA. Nakakatuwa yung bata, maganda din naman achievements ng bata. Naghahanap tayo ng pagtitipiran na hindi mababawasan ng quality,” Yap explained.
Dorado was finalist of the recently concluded Asia’s Got Talent. The Filipino shadow play group El Gamma Penumbra emerged as the champion, while Filipino classical singer Gerphil Flores was runner-up.
As for the expenses, Yap said the budget ranges from Php2 million to Php2.2 million, but she said it would not exceed last year’s budget at Php2.3 million.
The budget would cover food and reception activities. Yap said the other paraphernalia like publications and signage are either covered by their internal budget or donated by government agencies.
The food menu costs Php700 per head, Yap said. (PNA)