The SONA Teleprompter Operator Deserves a Medal

Rough job, buddy.

You think your job is bad? Imagine being conscripted as the teleprompter operator of President Rodrigo Duterte’s last state of the nation address (SONA). For three hours, the poor operator didn’t have the privilege of drifting off while the guy on screen rambled on. Most of us multitasked in the time we only partially listened to the SONA happening in the background. Some cooked rice, made dinner, took a bath, and some even all of the above while the man on television sporadically listed out his accomplishments, followed by long “story times,” angry tirades, and plenty of haphazard anecdotes.

The random pace was no easy feat to keep up with, and even Duterte struggled when he listed statistics—then he blamed it on the teleprompter operator.

"It’s either I am talking too fast or too slow, or the operator of this thing here is too drowsy," joked the president after going off script. “Maybe because I have so many ad libs along the way, marami akong akin lang, kaya ‘yong nahinto ako, when I stop and I process something in the gray matter between the ears, hindi humahabol o hindi alam ng operator."


Add in a slightly concerning query over the gender of the teleprompter and a promise of a hug afterward, and your cringe-inducing SONA is complete. At least he admitted to the lapses of his infamous SONAs, of which this is the longest one in history and that’s saying something.

"Ako ay naiihi na kanina pa,” joked Duterte in his parting words at the end of his SONA.

It’s one thing to have to sit through the entire SONA. It’s another to have to actually pay attention to the three-hour-long ramblings—sans subtitles. So give this teleprompter operator a medal for sheer endurance, because God knows, we drifted off after the first "shoot them" and "putangina."

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