MANILA,July 25 (Mabuhay) — President Rodrigo Duterte is scheduled to undergo COVID-19 swab test on Sunday, July 26, a day before his fifth State of the Nation Address (SONA), Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said Saturday.

“Baka tomorrow din siguro,” Nograles said when asked when Duterte will be tested.

Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque earlier said the President will take the RT-PCR test.

Nograles said all the attendees at the SONA will also undergo swab testing.

The President will physically deliver his SONA before a joint session of Congress at the Batasang Pambansa in Quezon City on Monday afternoon.

On Wednesday, House Deputy Secretary General for Administration Department Dr. Ramon Ricardo Roque said in a briefing that lawmakers and their staff who will attend the SONA will be required to undergo swab testing as well as rapid testing for COVID-19.

The House official said persons who will test positive in either of the COVID-19 tests will no longer be allowed to attend the SONA physically.

Fifteen Cabinet members and 50 lawmakers will be allowed to witness the President’s address.

“By any unforeseen circumstances, mukhang preparado naman ang Kongreso sa tanggap nila kay Pangulong Duterte para sa kanyang State of the Nation Address doon sa House of Representatives,” Nograles said.

“Ang kaibahan nga lang, iilan lang ang makaka-attend. Iilang mga kongresista, piling pili. Pati ang mga senador, piling pili para magkakaroon talaga ng social distancing,” he added.

The Cabinet secretary said the SONA will be aired live on TV and radio. It will also be live-streamed on social media.

Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Martin Andanar said Saturday that at least 10 employees at the PCOO’s main office in Manila tested positive for COVID-19.

Nevertheless, he said, the agency’s coverage plan for Duterte’s Fifth SONA on Monday will proceed. (MNS)

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