Good day. Here are the stories for The Manila Times for Sunday, September 4, 2022.

Obiena beats world champ for 3rd gold

Filipino Olympian pole vaulter Ernest John "EJ" Obiena dealt world champion Armand "Mondo" Duplantis his first defeat at the Dia- mond League meet in Brussels, Belgium and bagged his third gold in the men's pole vault on Friday (Saturday in Manila). Obiena cleared 5.91 meters on the third time of asking as the 22-year-old US-born Swede failed to pass the same height three times, falling to the mat on the third botched effort with a gaping mouth in stunned disbelief. Before this, Obiena won the gold at St. Wendel City Jump in Germany on Wednesday (Thursday in Manila) and at the 2022 True Athletes Classic at the Manforter Stadio in Leverkusen, also in Germany last Sunday (Monday in Manila).

Beermen, Tropang Giga dispute PH Cup crown

Sticking to sports, the battle between two dynasties has come down to one final game, and it's a fitting way to end the championship series of the PBA Philippine Cup.A winner-take-all, Game 7 encounter was formalized right after San Miguel Beer scored a convincing 114-96 thrashing of the banged up and undermanned TNT Tro- pang Giga in Game 6 Friday night, setting up what promises to be an explosive way to wind up this colossal tussle between these two dynasties.

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BBM leaves for state visits to Indonesia, Singapore

In other news, President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. left on Sunday for state visits to Indonesia and Singapore, his first overseas trip since assuming office. Press Secretary Rose Beatrix "Trixie" Cruz-Angeles said Marcos will meet withIndonesian President Joko Widodo and Singapore President Halimah Yacob to discuss bilateral relations with the two close neighbors.

Poll exec retires

FORMER Commission on Elections (Comelec) spokesman Director James Jimenez has tendered his resignation after serving for 16 years as the mouthpiece of the poll body. Comelec Chairman George Erwin Garcia on Saturday confirmed Jimenez's resignation, saying that the commission is deeply saddened with the former spokesman's decision to retire early. Garcia said this was personal to Jimenez and wished him good luck.

Group blames DA for unreleased aid to farmers

AN agricultural group on Saturday blamed the Department of Agriculture (DA) for the delay in the disbursement of the P5,000-financial subsidy to rice farmers under the Rice Farmers Financial Assistance program. In a radio interview, Samahang Industriya ng Agrikultura (Sinag) President Rosendo So said no funds were released a month after President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. approved the P8.04 billion aid to 1.59 million farmers. So added that the money came from the P9-billion collected tax last year under the Rice Tariffication Law. When informed of the unreleased subsidy, the Land Bank of the Philippines told So that it was still waiting for the required farmers' identification card to be issued by the DA.

Pagcor orders TRLEI to vacate Okada

THE Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (Pagcor) has ordered the officers of Tiger Resort Leisure and Entertainment Inc. (TRLEI) to vacate the gaming premises of Okada Manila. Pagcor issued a cease and desist order (CDO) in accordance with the opinion handed down by the Department of Justice (DoJ) dated September 1 which confirmed the gaming regulator's power and authority to act on the appeal of Tiger Resort Asia Ltd. (TRAL), mother company of TRLEI, which owns 99.9 percent of TRLEI, to regain control of the casino-hotel's board. However, the board of directors of Pagcor said in its resolution dated September 2 that it shall continue to comply with the status quo ante order (SQAO) issued bythe Supreme Court (SC) last April 27 and shall only recognize Japanese gaming tycoon Kazuo Okada as stockholder, director, chairman and CEO of TRLEI. The current TRLEI board is led by Filipino businessman Antonio "Tonyboy" Cojuangco and Dindo Espeleta.Pagcor Chairman Alejandro Tengco made clear that they no longer recognize Espeleta as the authorized representative of TRLEI unless he shows a document that overturns the SQAO and DoJ opinion. Pagcor directed the current board to cease from discharging their functions in connection with casino operations.The Cojuangco-led board was also ordered to cease from further disbursing funds in Okada Manila cage "unless they are able to present a valid authority" in accordance with the SQAO. Pagcor also ordered Okada Manila management to allow nominees of TRAL access to the Okada Manila premises and assume the operation and management of TRLEI. In its opinion, the Justice department said as a licensee, TRLEI falls under the jurisdiction of Pagcor just like all corporations are under the regulation of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

Govt debt reaches P12.89T end-July

Over to business, the Bureau of the Treasury (BTr) announced on Saturday, September 3, that the national government's total outstanding debt reached P12.89 trillion at the end-July 2022 level, up by 9.9 percent from the beginning of the year. According to the agency's data, the additional P96.09 billion (0.8 percent) in debt starting from the end of June 2022 was due to additional local and foreign borrowings as well as currency adjustments. BTr also pointed out that the national government's debt has increased by P1.16 trillion (9.9 percent) since the end of December 2021, but that the country's debt-to-GDP ratio also improved to 62.1 percent at the end of the second quarter of 2022 in comparison to the 63.5 percent figure recorded in the previous quarter. This was because of the economy continuing to recover from the pandemic. In breaking down the total value of the debt that the nation owes to all lenders, 31.5 percent was from foreign sources while 68.5 percent were domestic borrowings.

Opinion and editorial

Today's front page columnist is Marlen Ronquillo, as he tackles the problems within the Philippine General Hospital.

Our editorial for today echoes Rigoberto Tiglao's column from last Friday that Sen. Loren Legarda is wrong about her support on Leftist rebels. Read the full version in the paper's opinion section or listen to the Voice of the Times.

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For The Manila Times, this is Paulo Dimaapi.