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President Duterte is expected to deliver a “frank” but “hopeful” State of the Nation Address today, two days after Congress overwhelmingly approved his bid to extend martial law in Mindanao until the end of the year.

Senators want to find out whether or not President Duterte still wants Congress to pass the proposed emergency powers bill that is not only to help ease the worsening traffic crisis but also boost the administration’s P8-trillion “Build, Build, Build” program.

Fighting in Marawi City entered its third month yesterday and fighting continues to drag on with President Duterte saying he is prepared to wait for a year to end it.

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Producing a total of 210 bills in the past year, the first regular session of the 17th Congress has so far been “productive,” as far as the House of Representatives under the leadership of Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez is concerned.

Malacañang yesterday urged the public to cooperate with authorities implementing the executive order banning smoking nationwide, which took effect yesterday.

Imposing tax on sugar-sweetened beverages like powdered juice and instant coffee will double their cost and thereby hurt the poorest of the poor, according to a recent study by the University of Asia and the Pacific.

Militant groups will greet President Duterte’s second State of the Nation Address with complaints about “fake promises” even as a staunch critic, Sen. Leila de Lima, described the SONA as just another record of “fake news” and justifications of extrajudicial killings.

Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Martin Andanar is the richest official in his agency with a net worth higher than that of all his undersecretaries and assistant secretaries combined, documents obtained by The STAR showed.

Senate Majority Leader Vicente Sotto III pushed yesterday for harsher provisions in the country’s anti-terrorism law and the restoration of the death penalty to help the government confront extremist groups and criminal syndicates better.

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana is calling on enemies of the state, particularly those sowing terror in Mindanao, to surrender or face police and military action under martial law.

The camp of Ilocos Norte Gov. Imee Marcos and six detained provincial officials pressed the Supreme Court on their plea to stop the House of Representatives inquiry, set to resume tomorrow, on the capitol’s alleged misuse of tobacco excise tax.

Congress can revoke the extended martial law over Mindanao any time before Dec. 31 if lawmakers think the security situation is already stable or there are validated reports of serious abuses by government forces, senators said yesterday.

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