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Here are the top stories of The Manila Times for Wednesday, October 13, 2021.

The page one banner headline reads:

READ: Lacson questions SAP aid rollout

Sen. Panfilo "Ping" Lacson has questioned the discrepancy in the distribution of Social Amelioration Program or SAP funds by the Department of Social Welfare and Development.

READ: MMDA orders 5-day closure of cemeteries

The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority or MMDA, together with mayors of the National Capital Region, recommended a temporary shutdown of all cemeteries and public memorial parks to avoid a spike in Covid-19 cases before and during All Saints' Day and All Souls' Day.

READ: 'Maring' leaves 9 dead, 11 missing

Nine persons died while 11 were reported missing as severe Tropical Storm "Maring" with international name: "Kompasu" continued to bring heavy rains and trigger flash floods and landslides, mostly in Northern Luzon.

Meanwhile, in other news...

READ: Concepcion to IATF: Allow more businesses to operate

With the government ramping up its vaccination program and the declining rate of Covid-19 infection, Presidential Adviser for Entrepreneurship and Go Negosyo founder Jose Maria "Joey" Concepcion 3rd is hopeful that more sectors will be allowed to resume operations to help businesses recoup their losses and continue their operations next year.

READ: NCR daily Covid cases lowest since August

The daily average in cases of Covid-19 in the National Capital Region or NCR has decreased to fewer than 2,000, its lowest figure since the start of August, according to the independent OCTA Research group.

READ: Duterte ban on Cabinet legal ‒ OSG

The Office of the Solicitor General or OSG upheld on Tuesday the authority of President Rodrigo Duterte to ban members of the Cabinet from attending Senate investigations, saying it is a legitimate exercise of the Chief Executive's power under the Constitution.

READ: SC junks plunder raps vs former DoF exec

The Supreme Court or SC has upheld the ruling of the Sandiganbayan that dismissed the plunder charges against former Finance undersecretary Antonio Belicena and six others, including spouses Faustino and Gloria Chingkoe.

In regional news,

READ: 3 siblings killed in Benguet landslide

Three minors were killed in a landslide, caused by Tropical Storm "Maring" here on Monday night.

In world news,

READ: US cause of global tensions ‒ NKorea

The leader of nuclear-armed North Korea, Kim Jong Un, has blamed the United States for tensions on the peninsula, state media reported on Tuesday.

READ: Covid pill up for FDA review

Drugmaker Merck asked US regulators on Monday (Tuesday in Manila) to authorize its pill for treating Covid-19 in what would add an entirely new and easy-to-use weapon to the world's arsenal against the pandemic.

In business,

READ: Fitch unit warns of uncertainty in PH polls

The uncertainty surrounding the Philippine presidential elections would remain elevated in the near term, according to a Fitch Group unit, saying it believes that Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio is not yet out of the race.

And in sports,

READ: Magnolia goes for jugular vs Meralco

One win is all Magnolia needed to earn a return trip ticket to the Philippine Cup finals, and Hotshots coach Chito Victolero knows putting away the Meralco Bolts is easier said than done.

Rigoberto Tiglao and Fr. Ranhilio Aquino are the featured columnists on the front page of The Times.

Tiglao insists

READ: We should be furious, and worried, at this Nobel move

Fr. Aquino declares

READ: This is Peter, and I stand with him!

In The Times editorial, it is insisted that the

READ: Next president must have a responsive energy policy

Read all about it.

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With Aric John Sy Cua, Paolo Dimaapi and Christian Maghanoy, this is Dafort Villaseran reporting. Have a great week!