Duterte set to deliver third SONA

Jamaine Punzalan, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 23 2018 08:06 AM | Updated as of Jul 23 2018 01:35 PM

MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday will bare his legislative agenda before Congress for the third time in a State of the Nation Address, without the approval of a law granting wider self-rule to the Muslim minority in the south. 

The Senate has ratified the Bangsamoro Organic Law. The House of Representatives, however, suspended its session before noon without passing the measure.

Malacañang had eyed the signing of the law during the SONA. 

The law is one of the requirements under a 2014 peace agreement between Manila and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, the country's largest Muslim rebel group. 

Duterte, the first president from Mindanao, had certified the measure as urgent. 

PROTESTS HERALD SONA 

Unlike previous years, the 73-year-old Duterte will not meet with protesters after his third SONA, his aide Christopher Go said. 

Administration critics, meanwhile, have agreed to protest away from the SONA venue at Batasan Pambansa this year. They will converge in Commonwealth Avenue while Duterte's supporters will assemble at Batasan Road, according to police. 

PRESIDENT IN 'GOOD HEALTH'

Duterte was in "good health" on the eve of the SONA, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said, citing the results of a "routine check-up" on the President. 

"He spent about an hour and a half for the routine examination. He was declared to be in good health," Roque said.

Duterte's third SONA is expected to run for 35 minutes as he promised to read from prepared remarks.

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