JULY 18, 2013

NR # 3168B

Congress all set for President’s SONA
“Come Monday morning, the House of Representatives of the 16 th Congress will be ready to open its first regular session and officially elect the Speaker,” House Secretary General Marilyn Barua-Yap today said. “We all expect the hands down re-election of Quezon City Rep. Feliciano Belmonte, Jr. who, with the Senate President, will welcome President Benigno C. Aquino III in the afternoon at the Batasan complex for his State of the Nation Address,” Secgen Barua-Yap said. The Speaker, through Atty. Barua-Yap, expressed his deep gratitude and appreciation for the indispensable assistance extended by the Quezon City government headed by Mayor Herbert Bautista for the equipment and manpower to help clean and spruce up the Batasan complex. “We would also like to thank the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority headed by Chairman Francis Tolentino for the agency’s crucial assistance to the ongoing preparations. We also owe our gratitude to the AFP and the PNP for their key role and ever-ready cooperation,” Atty. Barua-Yap stressed. As early as March 4, 2013, 15th Congress Speaker Belmonte created a Task Force to assist in the preparation for the opening of the first regular session of the 16th Congress to hear the President’s annual report to the Filipino people through his SONA. SecGen Barua-Yap heads the task force as chairperson of the Steering Committee, assisted by secretariat officials as members heading different working committees. Similar to preparations during previous SONAs, an Inter-Agency Committee was formed and became the heart of these preparations and coordination among concerned government agencies. Members of the inter-agency body, presided by SecGen Barua-yap with her Senate counterpart represented by Senate Sgt. at Arms M/Gen Jose Balajadia, Jr. (Ret), included, among others, House Sgt. at Arms B/Gen. Nicasio Radovan, Jr. (Ret) MMDA Chairman Tolentino and officers and representatives from the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP); the Philippine National Police (PNP); the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA);the Presidential Security Group (PSG); Department of Public Safety and Order; Presidential Legislative Liaison Office (PLLO); Presidential Protocol Office; and the official media representatives of Malacañang and of Congress. “Everything’s smooth” was the overall assessment made during the inter-agency’s meeting held at the Andaya Hall of the Batasan complex last Wednesday, four days before D-day. The members agreed to maintain open communication among themselves to address any and all concerns that may crop up between now and Monday. (30) dpt

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