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Here are the top stories of The Manila Times for Wednesday, May 25, 2022.

READ: BBM eyes economic stimulus measure

President-elect Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. is looking at the national budget for 2023 to fund an economic stimulus measure that will help those severely affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.

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READ: Congress starts vote count

The Senate and House of Representatives, sitting as the National Board of Canvassers, started canvassing on Tuesday the votes cast for president and vice president in the May 9, 2022 elections.

READ: Manila Times forum tackles media practices, rights

The practice of journalism has been tested significantly by the proliferation of online and social media, making news and the latest stories available at people's fingertips through their smartphones and other gadgets.

READ: 'Economy back to pre-Covid level by Q2'

Presidential Adviser for Entrepreneurship Jose Maria "Joey" Concepcion 3rd is confident that the Philippine economy will return to its pre-pandemic level by the second half of this year, provided that alert levels are not heightened.

READ: OCTA sees 'weak' Covid surge

The OCTA Research group said on Tuesday it sees a possible "weak surge" in Covid-19 cases as the reproduction number in the National Capital Region increased to 1.05 on May 20.

READ: Marcos mulls extending VFA

President-elect Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. is considering "extending" and "redefining" the country's Visiting Forces Agreement or VFA with the United States, citing the "changing environment" in the region.

In regional news,

READ: PCG: Mercraft owner to compensate victims

The owner of the fast craft vessel that caught fire off Real, Quezon on Monday is working on providing initial assistance to the victims, the Philippine Coast Guard or PCG said.

In world news,

READ: Leaders navigating 'dark hour' after Ukraine invasion

United States President Joe Biden told fellow Indo-Pacific leaders assembled for a four-country summit on Tuesday that they were navigating "a dark hour in our shared history" due to the war in Ukraine and urged them to exert greater effort to stop Russian President Vladimir Putin's aggression.

READ: Donbas offensive stepped up as war enters 4th month

Russian forces intensified on Tuesday their offensive on the last pocket of resistance around Luhansk in Ukraine's eastern Donbas region as the conflict entered its fourth month.

In business,

READ: DBCC adjusts 2022 growth projection

The Interagency Development Budget Coordination Committee or DBCC adjusted on Tuesday the 2022 Philippine economic growth projection to take into consideration recent external developments.

And in sports,

READ: Tatum stars as Celtics rout Heat to square series

Jayson Tatum rediscovered his scoring touch with 31 points as the Boston Celtics thrashed the Miami Heat 102-82 to level the NBA Eastern Conference finals series on Monday (Tuesday in Manila).

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

Tiglao insists that

READ: Anti-Marcos 'scholars:' Know-nothings really

Fr. Aquino explains the process of

READ: Disqualifying a winning candidate

In The Times editorial, it goes over

READ: The pros and cons of reclamation

Read all about it.

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This is Dafort Villaseran reporting. Stay safe and take care of your mental health.