House SecGen: 20 million budget for SONA covers food, essentials

House SecGen: 20 million budget for SONA covers food, essentials
House of Representatives on July 6, 2023
STAR / Jesse Bustos

MANILA, Philippines — House Secretary General Reginald Velasco said that the specific P20 million budget earmarked for the "preparations and execution" of the 2024 State of the Nation Address (SONA) not only covers food, but also other essentials needed for the event.

In a statement sent to reporters on Wednesday, Velasco clarified that the P20 million amount is also an estimate and has yet to be fully expended.

"The budget covers a range of essential expenses to ensure the event’s success, beginning from March 12, 2024, when the SONA Task Force was created," he said.

Velasco provided a breakdown of the SONA expenditures covered by the P20 million budget:

  • Food and beverages for all personnel involved, including internal staff and external personnel such as police, MMDA officers, and other support staff, both during and before SONA.
  • Uniforms for approximately 2,000 secretariat employees, with each individual receiving three sets of uniforms  
  • Security measures, including personnel and equipment 
  • Expenses related to meetings with all departments and agencies involved in the SONA preparation 
  • Invitations and giveaways, which are given to attendees "as a token of appreciation"
  • Equipment rental expenses for LED walls and other equipment needed "to enhance the program’s audiovisual presentation and overall ambiance inside the plenary hall and within the vicinity of the Batasan complex"
  • Potted plants and flowers to decorate the venue
  • Incidental expenses, such as funds for communication requirements, additional medical support from nearby hospitals, and other incidentals

Velasco said that he would like to assure the public of their commitment to transparency and responsibility in spending public funds. 

"Every peso allocated for the SONA is carefully scrutinized and managed to reflect the significance of this Constitutionally mandated event while being conscious of public sentiments regarding the use of taxpayers' money," he added.

President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.'s third SONA on July 22 is expected to have the highest attendance in history with over 2,000 guests, Velasco said.

The Philippine National Police said it plans to deploy 22,000 personnel in various areas in Metro Manila and nearby surrounding areas for this year's SONA.

vuukle comment


SONA 2024

  • Latest
  • Trending
Are you sure you want to log out?

Philstar.com is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

Get Updated:

Signup for the News Round now

or sign in with