Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, July 8) — A film and television director wants the mood at President Rodrigo Duterte's upcoming State of The Nation Address (SONA) to be happy and hopeful, after last year's controversial leadership coup in the House of Representatives.
Joyce Bernal, who was tapped to direct the official coverage of Duterte's 4th SONA on July 22, visited the Batasang Pambansa Monday to check how the plenary hall could be set up.
"I want it hopeful and good. 'Yung parang masaya na kasi last year, anong nangyari? So sana parang i-set mo 'yung mood ng lahat ng tao dito na, 'uy wag na kayong mag-away. Mga bashers," she said.
[Translation: Last year seemed to be happy, but what happened? I hope we can set the mood as if telling people to stop quarreling and bashing.]
Walking around the plenary hall, the director behind hit movies like "Kimmy Dora" and "Gandarrapido: The Revenger Squad" checked with House officials about the ideal locations for cameras and if some decor could be placed on the podium.
Bernal said she would like to have live music playing during the SONA if Malacañang allows it and she's given the budget to hire performers.
"Siyempre 'pag malaki 'yung pangarap mo, medyo dagdag nang konti ng budget. Pero okay lang, kayang gawan ng paraan," she said.
[Translation: Of course if you have big plans, you need an additional budget. But it's okay, we can make a way.]
Bernal said she has learned to expect the unexpected following the power grab, which overshadowed Duterte's third SONA.
The President's address to the nation in July 2018 started over an hour late after House members moved to unseat Davao del Norte Representative Pantaleon Alvarez as speaker. Former President and then Pampanga congresswoman Gloria Macapagal Arroyo took over Alvarez's post as the entire country watched live on television.
"Big learning from last year, that's why nandito ako at napaka-hopeful dahil na-shock ako sa nakita ko last year (I'm here and hopeful because I was shocked with what I witnessed last year)," she said.
Bernal said she's ready to adjust in case the President veers away from his prepared speech and adlibs.
However, the veteran director has just one request: "Sir, dahan dahan sa English kasi kahit po ako hindi maka-cope."
[Translation: Sir, speak in English slowly because even I cannot cope.]
Bernal first took the helm of Duterte's SONA last year, replacing renowned indie film director Brillante Mendoza who was criticized for his creative shots and angles during the President's speech.
Bernal last year said she directed the President's address for free.