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Here are the top stories of The Manila Times this Friday, Aug.12, 2022

READ: Joint PH-US sea patrols eyed

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THE Philippines is ready to conduct joint patrols with the United States in the West Philippine Sea (WPS), the Department of National Defense (DND) told The Manila Times on Thursday. DND spokesman Arsenio Andolong said joint patrols with the US can be "explored," especially if the arrangement will be beneficial to the country. Andolong was asked to comment on the statements of Foreign Affairs Secretary Enrique Manalo that joint patrols between the Philippines and the US in the West Philippine Sea can be explored, in the face of continuing aggressive actions by China in the waterway. Manalo was quoted as saying that the patrols "can take place under the ambit of the Mutual Defense Treaty." Signed in 1951, the treaty calls for the Philippines and the US to defend each other from aggression. Manalo made the observation after the visit of US Secretary of State Antony Blinken last week. Manila has filed a series of protests against the repeated incursions of Chinese vessels in the West Philippine Sea.

READ: ABS-CBN buys into rival TV

THE media company ABS-CBN Corp. has acquired a substantial stake in TV5 Network Inc., paving the way for a "strengthened partnership" between the two former rivals. In a disclosure to the Philippine Stock Exchange, ABS-CBN said it will acquire 6,459,393 new primary common shares in TV5, which is equivalent to 34.99 percent of the total voting and outstanding capital stock of the network owned by the PLDT group of Manuel V. Pangilinan. The total value of the deal is P2.16 billion. Once the deal is inked, the total holdings of MediaQuest Holdings, the media investment vehicle of the PLDT group, in TV5 will be reduced to 64.79 percent of the total voting and outstanding capital stock. MediaQuest will stay on as TV5's controlling stockholder. The two parties will also sign a "convertible note agreement" that will allow ABS-CBN to buy more TV5 primary common shares after eight years and raise its equity to no more than 49.92 percent of the network's outstanding capital stock.

READ: Sugar board meeting faces probe

MALACAÑANG has launched an investigation of the "unauthorized" meeting of the Sugar Regulatory Administration (SRA) where a resolution was approved to import 300,000 metric tons of sugar, a decision which was later rejected by President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. Press Secretary Rose Beatrix "Trixie" Cruz-Angeles said during a press briefing Thursday the SRA cannot be convened without the President, who also heads the Department of Agriculture (DA), making the resolution "illegal." The document in question, Sugar Order 4, appeared to have been signed for and on behalf of the President by Undersecretary Leocadio Sebastian, Cruz-Angeles said. The other signatories were SRA Board Vice Chairperson Hermenegildo Serafica, millers' representative to the board Roland Beltran, and Aurelio Gerardo Valderrama Jr., acting board member and planters' representative.

READ: Henry Sy's heirs top Filipino billionaires

THE combined income of the children of late taipan Henry Sy went down this year, but they continue to be the country's wealthiest. Based on Forbes' Philippines' Richest 2022's list, Teresita Sy Coson, Henry Sy Jr., Hans, Herbert and Harley — the controlling shareholders of the SM Group conglomerate — had a combined net worth of $12.6 billion, down $4 billion from the previous year. The country's second richest man after the Sy siblings is real estate tycoon Manuel "Manny" Villar Jr. He added $1.1 billion to his wealth this year, bringing his fortune to $7.8 billion. Enrique Razon Jr., a port mogul who suffered a modest dip in his net worth to $5.6 billion, was No. 3 on the list. The Aboitiz family, whose combined fortune is $2.9 billion, is back on the list. The family is one of the two returnees this year, making the top five with combined riches of $2.9 billion, including the larger family's interests. Rounding up the top 10 are Isidro Consunji and his brothers from DMCI; Tony Tan Caktiong and his family from Jollibee Foods Corporation; Jaime Zobel de Ayala and his family from Ayala Corporation; Ramon Ang from San Miguel Corporation; and Andrew Tan from Alliance Global.

In Business

READ: Fitch Solutions hikes PH growth outlook

FITCH Solutions has raised its 2022 Philippine growth forecast on account of a strong first half and despite an anticipated second semester slowdown. The projection falls within the government's 2022 target of 6.5 to 7.5 percent and is higher than 2021's actual GDP growth of 5.7 percent. Fitch Solutions said the outlook also reflected expectations that growth would decline in the second half in comparison to January-June's 7.8-percent year-on-year uptick. It noted that the reopening of businesses in February and election-related spending had contributed to first-half GDP growth and that a reasonably accommodating central bank had somewhat boosted consumption and investment. These positive factors helped counteract external headwinds brought on by high oil costs, a slowdown in the global economy and tightening monetary conditions worldwide.

Topping Sports

READ: Green wants to be the best version of himself

FILIPINO American basketball star Jalen Green sizzled in his rookie year in the NBA 2021-2022 season. With averages of 17.3 points, 3.4 rebounds, and 2.6 assists, the 6-foot-5 Green made it to the NBA All-Rookie team. Stellar as Green's game had been last season, it didn't translate to wins for his Houston Rockets, who finished dead last in the league with a season record of 20 wins and 62 losses. With that in mind, the 20-year-old Green looks to build a winning mentality and be the best version of himself as he gears up for his sophomore season, where opposing teams are now more focused on stopping him. After playing in the 2018 and 2019 editions of the National Basketball Training Center, Green visited the country anew for the JG4 tour, where he met the Philippine media and the fans.

READ: Opinion/Editorial

In today's Editorial, the Times says that the country's shift to indigenous energy is long time coming. For the full version, read the print and Digital editions or listen to The Voice of the Times. Rigoberto Tiglao and Ruben Torres are the featured columnists on the front page. Tiglao writes that the late US president Ronald Reagan confirmed that Corazon Aquino had asked the US to take then president Ferdinand Marcos Sr. out of the country; Torres talks about the dire consequences of war in Taiwan.

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This is Paulo Dimaapi reporting.