Good day. Here are the stories for The Manila Times for Tuesday, September 6, 2022.

READ: P1.7B tractor deal by DA 'overpriced'

THE new chief of the Department of Agriculture's Philippine Center for Postharvest Development and Mechanization (PhilMech) on Monday said he has uncovered irregularities in the purchase of P1.737 billion worth of 1,346 tractors under a DA farm mechanization program. PHilMech Executive Director Dionisio Alvindia said he has informed the Department of Budget and Management about the acquisition.

READ: Marcos, Widodo firm up PH-Indonesia ties

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PRESIDENT Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. on Monday met with Indonesian President Joko Widodo, the highlight of his three-day state visit to the Philippines' southern neighbor. The President, accompanied by first lady Liza Araneta-Marcos and several members of his Cabinet, was welcomed to the Bogor Presidential Palace in Jakarta by Widodo and first lady Iriana Widodo. During their meeting, Marcos stressed the importance of further strengthening the Philippine's 73-year diplomatic ties with Indonesia, a partnership that is "of critical importance" to stability, peace and development in the region.

READ: Peso hits another record low

THE Philippine peso sank on Monday to another record low — P56.999 against the United States dollar — after hitting P56.985 during intraday trading. The Bankers Association of the Philippines (BAP) said the peso lost another 22 centavos on Monday, passing the previous record of P56.77 posted at the Philippine Dealing System (PDS) last Friday.

READ: Tiger Resort regains control of Okada Manila

TIGER Resort Asia Ltd. (TRAL) has reinstated its board members in Tiger Resort Leisure and Entertainment Inc. (TRLEI), operator of Okada Manila, effectively regaining control of the integrated resort and casino. Tiger Resort has retaken control of Okada Manila after the group of Filipino businessman Antonio "Tonyboy" Cojuangco, who was appointed as Okada Manila president by Japanese gaming tycoon Kazuo Okada last June, and the Okada-constituted board were ordered by the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (Pagcor) to stop operating the casino hotel. Pagcor based its ruling on the opinion by the Department of Justice (DoJ) dated September 1.

READ: Show no mercy to terrorists – Sara

VICE President Sara Duterte-Carpio on Monday said that the government should take a hardline stance against terrorists and criminals who could derail the country's march to progress. Duterte-Carpio hosted a meeting on Monday with security officials at the Department of Education (DepEd) Central Office. In a press briefing after the meeting, she said that the country should show no mercy against criminals and terrorists threatening peace and order.

READ: DoH chief meets with IATF on mask policy

DEPARTMENT of Health (DoH) Officer in Charge (OIC) Maria Rosario Vergeire met with the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) to discuss the mask policy that they will recommend to President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. This is in line with the development in Cebu City that pushed against the mandatory use of face masks. Speaking to the media on Monday, Vergeire said that masks provide 70 to 80 percent protection against Covid-19, as well as other respiratory diseases such as flu and pneumonia. Vergeire said that they will send the IATF recommendation to the President. His decision will be announced formally by the Office of the Press Secretary.

BUSINESS: Impact of EU downturn on PH trade 'not severe'

Topping business, the impact of an economic downturn in Europe will be manageable as other markets could make up for lost business, Trade Secretary Alfredo Pascual told The Manila Times. Pascual said he is closely monitoring the developments in the European Union, which was the Philippines' sixth-largest export market last year, taking a 10.8-percent share of total exports or $8.06 billion. In the same year, the EU accounted for 15.36 percent of approved foreign investments. Economists have warned that the EU is on the verge of a recession given record inflation and energy shortages following Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

SPORTS: Obiena's gold run ends, settles for silver in Berlin

Over to sports, Ernest John "EJ" Obiena's string of three gold medals came to a halt at the ISTAF Berlin in Germany after the Filipino Olympian bagged the silver medal in men's pole vault on Sunday, September 4. Obiena registered his best leap of the day at 5.81 meters to place second behind Menno Vloon of The Netherlands who cleared the 5.88-meter bar for the gold. Bronze medalist Kurtis Marschall of Australia also jumped 5.81 meters but Obiena bagged the silver after needing only two attempts to clear the bar compared to Marschall's three. Obiena, the world's third ranked pole vaulter, topped the previous three tournaments — Internationales Stabhochsprung-Meeting, True Athletics Classics and St. Wendel City Jump — over the past two weeks. Overall, this is the sixth podium finish for Obiena in a month.

READ: Opinion and editorial

Antonio Contreras and Jorge Mojarro are today's front page columnists. Contreras believes the sugar importation problem is based from food insecurity and not importation, while Mojarro discusses a player on the FC Barcelona soccer team that was born in the Philippines.

Today's editorial tackles the recent tempest in the literary teapot. Read a full version on the paper's opinion section or listen to the Voice of the Times.

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On behalf of The Manila Times, this is Aric John Sy Cua reporting.