State of the Nation Address

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President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo gestures as she stresses a point during her 2006 State of the Nation Address, with Senate President Manny Villar and House Speaker Jose De Venecia, Jr. in the background.

To read this article in Filipino, see this State of the Nation Address.

The State of the Nation Address (abbreviated SONA) is an annual event in the Republic of the Philippines, in which the President of the Philippines reports on the status of the nation, normally to the resumption of a joint session of the Congress (the House of Representatives and the Senate). This is a duty of the President as stated in Article VII, Section 23 of the 1987 Constitution.

The address is also an opportunity for opposition parties to protest against the government.


The earlier form of SONA was delivered in March 22, 1897 when Bonifacio gave a review about the Katipunan's accomplishments from its establishment on July 7, 1892, to the outbreak of the revolution on August 29, 1896 and his capacity as the leader of the secret society.

On September 15, 1898, Pablo Rianzares Bautista, opened the session of the Malolos Congress, after which President Emilio Aguinaldo delivered his State of Revolutionary Nation Address, which was entitled Mensaje Leido Por El Presidente Del Govierno Revolucionario Para El Congreso.

During the American colonial period, the third form of the SONA was delivered by Secretary of War William Howard Taft for US President Theodore Roosevelt on October 16, 1907. It was called the State of the Philippine Islands Address (Sopia).

In the passage of the Jones Law in 1916, the unicameral Philippine Assembly was transformed into the bicameral Philippine Legislature where Francis Burton Harrison became the country's governor general.

Harrison, however did not choose to deliver the Sopia during his administration. It became a custom for then President Manuel Quezon to deliver Harrison's annual message until the passage of the Tydings-McDuffie Law in 1934, which paved the way for the creation of the autonomous Commonwealth Government in 1935, where Quezon was elected president.

In the inaugural session of the National Assembly in 1936, Quezon delivered his State of the Commonwealth Government Affairs (SOCGA).

When Philippine independence was restored by the Americans in 1946, President Manuel Roxas delivered what was considered the first official State of the Nation Address. The tradition of delivering State of the Nation Addresses was continued by Presidents, Elpidio Quirino, Ramon Magsaysay, Carlos P. Garcia, Diosdado Macapagal, Ferdinand Marcos, Corazon Aquino, Fidel Ramos, Joseph Estrada and Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

Local versions

Local governments in the Philippines also give their own addresses at some point during the year. At the provincial level, this is called a "State of the Province" Address, or SOPA, given by the provincial governor, while at the city level, this is called a "State of the City" Address, or SOCA, given by the city mayor. These speeches are not mandated by law, but are given usually as a matter of practice or tradition.


  • Ferdinand Marcos, who stayed in power for twenty years delivered six State of the Nation Addresses.




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