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Here are the top stories of The Manila Times for Friday, Aug. 26, 2022.

READ: Senate tackles Charter change

THE Senate Committee on Constitutional Amendments and Revision of Codes on Thursday kicked off the process of rewriting the 1987 Constitution. Sen. Robinhood "Robin" Padilla said this is part of his responsibility as chairman of the Senate Committee on Constitutional Amendments and Revision of Codes. The discussion centered on three points: – Is there a need to amend or revise the 1987 Constitution? – What modality will be appropriate for amending or revising the Constitution? – For amendments and revisions to the Constitution, should the members of the Senate and House of Representatives vote jointly or separately? Padilla said it cannot be denied that the Constitution has a key role in democratic countries like the Philippines — and that from 1898 to 1987, it had undergone changes. Executive Director Jonathan Malaya of the Center for Excellence in Local Governance agreed that it is time to amend the 1987 Constitution which he said was flawed.

READ: EU wants to boost trade with PH

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THE Philippines should take advantage of the "heightened interest" of the European Union to boost trade with the Philippines, Romanian Ambassador to Manila Raduta Dana Matache said on Thursday in a roundtable interview with The Manila Times. Matache started as Romania's envoy to the Philippines last December with a mandate from Romanian President Klaus Iohannis "to help re-launch relations" between Bucharest and Manila. Asked how she could put the Philippines on the "radar" of the Romanian people and the rest of the EU, Matache said Romania can serve as the Philippines' "springboard" to the European community. The Philippines and Romania celebrated half a century of diplomatic relations this year. The two countries established diplomatic ties on Feb. 29, 1972. There are an estimated 1,300 Filipinos in the central European country.

READ: Bong Go backs sale of Covid-19 vaccines

SEN. Christopher Lawrence "Bong" Go on Thursday welcomed the efforts of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to make Covid-19 vaccines commercially available, saying the move will provide more options for Filipinos. Go, however, asked the FDA to ensure that manufacturers go through the evaluation and registration process when they apply for a Certificate of Product Registration (CPR). Task Force Edward, which was recently launched by the FDA, has as its main objective the commercialization of Covid-19 vaccines in the country. Manufacturers of vaccines may already apply for CPR, which the task force will carefully review and evaluate.

READ: Offset, ban, or tax

A Manila Times three-part special report on plastic waste ends with the debate on new and proposed programs to end the environmental menace.

In Business

READ: Jetro sees investment opportunities for PH

THE Philippines has numerous comparative advantages that could attract more investments from Japan, according to representatives of the Japan External Trade Organization (Jetro). During the recent information session organized by the Board of Investments (BoI) for the Philippine Investment Promotion Plan member Investment Promotion Agencies (IPAs), Jetro presented its perspective in attracting Japanese foreign direct investments into the country beyond the pandemic. Executive Director Kazuo Nakamura of Jetro Manila said that apart from the young and English-speaking workforce, the Philippines remains an attractive investment destination with its business-friendly environment and game-changing, liberalized laws and policies.

Topping Sports

READ: San Miguel guns for 2-1 lead vs TNT

IN Game Two on Wednesday, the San Miguel Beermen made sure the match will be decisively settled. The Beermen flexed their muscles and overpowered the TNT Tropang Giga, 109-100, to level the count at 1-all in their PBA Philippine Cup best-of-seven championship series at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City. Now, the Beermen will have a chance to get the upper hand and move halfway from securing their first championship in three years. The Beermen and the Tropang Giga collide at 5:45 p.m. for Game 3 of their title showdown. Pressure will still be on the side of TNT, which will continue to miss the services of head coach Chot Reyes. Reyes is currently in Beirut, coaching Gilas Pilipinas, which has a scheduled away game against Lebanon in the FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers.

READ: Jury awards $31M to Kobe Bryant's widow

Los Angeles County must pay $31 million in damages to Kobe Bryant's widow and a co-plaintiff over graphic photos taken at the site of the helicopter crash that killed the basketball star and eight others, a jury ordered Wednesday. Sheriff's deputies and firefighters who rushed to the scene of the January 2020 crash snapped pictures of the carnage, including the mangled remains of the Los Angeles Lakers legend and his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna. A trial in Los Angeles heard how some of these first responders showed the photographs to members of the public — including a bartender — while one deputy texted them to a friend as the pair played video games. Vanessa Bryant and Chris Chester, whose wife, Sarah, and daughter, Payton, also perished in the crash, sued for emotional damages over the pictures, which they said they feared would one day surface on the internet. The award represents redress for past and future suffering.

READ: Opinion/Editorial

In its editorial, the Times warns that droughts worldwide drive home the threat of climate change. Read the full version on the print and digital editions or listen to The Voice of The Times. Rigoberto Tiglao and Van Ybiernas are the featured columnists on the front page. Tiglao talks of how Ateneo has gone to the dogs intellectually while Ybiernas writes the first of a two-part article on the controversy surrounding sugar importation.

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This is Eireene Jairee Gomez reporting.