Here are the stories for The Manila Times for Monday, August 1, 2022.

READ: FVR passes away

FIDEL Valdez Ramos, the country's 12th president, died at the Makati Medical Center Sunday. He was 94. The Ramos family announced the former president's passing. Ramos, who was president from 1992 to 1998, is widely regarded to be the driving force behind the renewed investor confidence in the Philippines. It was during his time that the Philippines was recognized as an emerging "tiger economy." He was a military man who rose from the ranks to become the chief of the Philippine Constabulary and then vice chief of staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) during the time of President Ferdinand E. Marcos Sr. He was hailed as one of the heroes of the 1986 People Power Revolution, after he broke away from the administration of President Marcos and aligned himself with the newly established government of President Corazon Aquino. Aquino appointed Ramos as armed forces chief of staff before promoting him to Defense secretary. Ramos is survived by his wife and former first lady Amelita "Ming" Ramos, and their children Angelita Ramos-Jones, Carolina Ramos-Sembrano, Cristina Ramos-Jalasco and Gloria Ramos. Their other daughter Josephine Ramos-Samartino died in 2011.

READ: Covid positivity in 14 provinces 'very high'

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THE Covid-19 positivity rate in 14 provinces in Luzon is at a "very high" 20 percent, OCTA Research said. Isabela recorded a positivity rate of 36.3 percent, followed by Tarlac with 31.6 percent and Laguna with 30.9 percent. Other provinces with a positivity of more than 20 percent were Albay, Cagayan, Camarines Sur, Cavite, La Union, Nueva Ecija, Pampanga, Pangasinan, Quezon, Rizal and Zambales. Albay, Cagayan, La Union, Pangasinan and Quezon breached the 20 percent mark last July 29. The rate in the National Capital Region is slightly up, from 14.2 percent on July 23 to 15 percent on July 29. Bataan had a positivity rate of 19.9 percent, Benguet with 18.9 percent, Batangas with 15.4 percent and Bulacan with 13 percent. According to the Department of Health (DoH), continuous compliance with minimum public health standards of wearing masks, maintaining physical distancing and frequent hand washing could help contain the spread of Covid-19. Booster vaccinations remained a priority for the DoH to keep hospital utilization rates and fatalities to a minimum.

READ: Distressed Filipinos in Sri Lanka flown home

THE Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) on Saturday repatriated 13 distressed Filipinos from Sri Lanka amid the political and economic crisis in that country. The repatriates, composed of six females, two males and five minors, are part of the 114 Filipinos who have signified their intent to return to the Philippines. The Office of the Undersecretary for Migrant Workers Affairs (OUMWA) "has been steadfast in monitoring the situation and alleviating the concerns of Filipinos in Sri Lanka," the DFA said in a statement on Sunday. The Philippine Embassy in Bangladesh, which has jurisdiction over Sri Lanka, and the Philippine Honorary Consulate General in Colombo helped address the needs of the Filipino community.

READ: Time to close chapter on lockdowns

THE private and public sectors will continue to ensure there will be no more pandemic-related lockdowns, Go Negosyo founder Jose Ma. "Joey" Concepcion 3rd said on Sunday. He said the biggest gap involves the leadership of the Department of Health (DoH) which needs "one person to make the call" and who would "have visibility on the inventory of vaccines so that the flow of supply and demand can be efficiently regulated." Concepcion believes that a lot of the confusion over the government's Covid response happened because consensus-building took precedence over urgency.

BUSINESS: Medalla sees 8-9% Q2 growth

Over to business, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Governor Felipe Medalla sees the Philippine economy expanding by 8 to 9 percent in the second quarter of the year. Medalla's view compares to the 8.3-percent gross domestic product (GDP) growth in the first quarter of the year. He has said during an online business forum organized by The Manila Times titled "Charting the Course at the Changing of the Guard" that economic growth of 6.5 percent and higher is achievable this year given the continued strength of indicators like foreign direct investments, and consumer and business sentiment.

SPORTS: PH bets gun for gold in ASEAN Para Games

In sports, the Philippine campaign in the 11th Asean Para Games goes into overdrive Monday with national para-athletes seeking to contest 32 gold medals in athletics, swimming, and powerlifting in separate venues and in the neighboring city of Semarang in Indonesia. Tokyo Paralympic veteran Ernie Gawilan looms as a top gold prospect in the men's 400-meter freestyle S7 class at the Jatidiri Sports Complex pool in Semarang, located 104.8 kilometers northwest of Surakarta.

READ: Opinion and editorial

Rigoberto Tiglao and Fr. Ranhilio Aquino are today's front page columnists. Tiglao wants a recovery of territory while Fr. Aquino discusses a second look at the Presidential Commission on Good Government.

Today's editorial believes headwinds from abroad threaten the country's economic recovery. 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. Have a safe week and month of August ahead.