President Rodrigo Duterte

MANILA – On his fifth and penultimate State of the Nation Address (SONA), President Rodrigo Duterte will present a roadmap that will help the country recover from the effects of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19), Malacañang said on Wednesday.

“He (Duterte) will be presenting now a roadmap for recovery which the economic team has not unveiled yet and I think the reason is they want to unveil it in the SONA itself and many fora after the SONA,” Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in an interview with CNN Philippines.

Roque, however, did not provide additional details about the Covid-19 recovery roadmap Duterte will be presenting during his fifth SONA on July 27.

Despite the threat posed by Covid-19, Duterte decided to be physically present at the Batasang Pambansa Complex in Quezon City when he delivers his fifth SONA.

However, there will only be a limited number of people who can attend this year’s SONA to minimize Duterte’s risk of exposure to the novel coronavirus.

The Presidential Security Group has also ensured that heightened security measures would be in place during the annual event to keep Duterte safe from Covid-19.

Roque said Duterte is expected to discuss “in much detail” the government’s efforts to combat the disease, as well as its plan to help the country recover from the Covid-19 crisis.

“There is no other problem as big as [Covid-19] right now,” he said. “The President will summarize the effects of the [Covid-19] pandemic as well as the responses of the government and the way forward on how the government will actually approach this problem.”

As of Tuesday, the Philippines has logged 70,764 confirmed Covid-19 cases, with 23,281 recoveries and 1,837 deaths.

Duterte has eased the quarantine restrictions in the country to pave the way for the gradual reopening of the economy.

Earlier, he consulted doctors and experts on the possible reopening of the Philippine economy amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

He was told that the country could afford to resume more economic activities, provided that localized lockdown is implemented, Covid-19 testing capacity improves and the vulnerable groups are protected. (PNA)