The State of the Nation Address (SONA) in the Philippines is an annual event that brings together all important personalities in the government -- executive, legislative, and judiciary -- under one roof, at the Batasang Pambansa. As a governmental tradition, it is a means for the president to inform the people about the current state of the nation and give recommendations to the legislature as regards to his/her agenda or priorities or proposed measures for the fiscal year. As a constitutional obligation (see Article VI, Section 15 of the 1987 Philippine Constitution), it mandates the president to deliver a speech about the state of the nation during the opening of the sessions of the national legislature (which is composed of the Senate and the House of Representatives).
To many people, ‘election debates,’ is a means to inform voters of how the issues of the day are framed and discussed by candidates. The exchange of ideas that happens between opposing candidates is supposed to reveal information that voters need especially in knowing and evaluating candidates -- what they stand for, what their plans are, among Pothers. Equipped with this knowledge, voters are said to be more capable of making informed decision of who to vote for or not.