Good day. Here are the stories for The Manila Times for Friday, April 19, 2024.

Today's episode is brought to you by Wilcon Depot, The Philippines' leading home improvement and construction supplies retailer—your Trusted Building Partner.

READ: First Lady trains guns on Sara

FIRST LADY Liza Araneta-Marcos acknowledged Thursday she no longer thinks well of Vice President Sara Duterte, in another sign of the growing rift between the two politically powerful families. In a teaser video for the YouTube show "Tune in Kay Tunying," Mrs. Marcos said she was always kind to Duterte, but she had crossed the line. Recent videos of the first lady snubbing the vice president during recent send-offs for President Marcos' recent overseas trips have fanned rumors of tension between the two women. Sara's father and her brothers — Davao City Rep. Paolo Duterte and Davao City Mayor Sebastian Duterte — have been critical of Marcos since the President expressed the possibility of rejoining the International Criminal Court, which is investigating the former president on allegations of crimes against humanity in his bloody war on drugs. The Dutertes have been staging rallies in their hometown of Davao City, too, to protest the economic Charter change effort, which they claimed was a step toward a term extension for the President.

READ: Marcos freezes fines on e-bikes in Metro

Get the latest news
delivered to your inbox
Sign up for The Manila Times newsletters
By signing up with an email address, I acknowledge that I have read and agree to the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.

PRESIDENT Ferdinand Marcos Jr. on Thursday ordered the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority and all local government units to halt imposing fines and impounding e-bikes, e-trikes and other affected vehicles using national roads in Metro Manila. The President gave a one-month grace period to e-bikes, e-trikes and other affected vehicles on the second day of the ban. In a statement posted on his social media, the President said owners and users of e-bikes and e-trikes must give them ample time to be informed about the ban.

READ: Marcos in Time Magazine's 100 Most Influential People

PRESIDENT Ferdinand Marcos Jr. has been included in Time Magazine's 100 Most Influential People of 2024. The US publication cited his post-pandemic initiatives to keep the economy afloat and to elevate the Philippines on the world stage. Time Magazine correspondent Charlie Campbell also cited the Chief Executive for his stance on the West Philippine Sea and China's increasingly aggressive maneuverings in the contested waterway.

READ: 'Climate change impact in PH to exceed P637B'

THE Philippines remains vulnerable to climate change threats with its impact estimated to exceed 637 billion pesos in the coming years, the Climate Change Commission (CCC) said. CCC Commissioner Albert de la Cruz said during The Manila Times forum on Thursday that climate change is among the factors slowing the country's economic growth.

READ: PH Coast Guard to join Balikatan

THE Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) said Thursday it will participate for the first time in the Balikatan exercise conducted jointly by the Philippines and the United States. More than 16,700 Filipino and American troops will take part in this year's drills, which kicked off Monday and last until May 8. PCG Commandant Admiral Ronnie Gil Gavan ordered the Coast Guard fleet to prepare six of its ships for the Balikatan, PCG spokesman Rear Admiral Armand Balilo said. Among the vessels are the four multi-role response vessels (MRRVs) and two patrol boats that regularly conduct maritime security operations in the country's exclusive economic zone (EEZ).

READ: DFA blames China for regional tensions

IT is China's excessive maritime claims and aggressive behavior that are adding to tensions and undermining peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific region, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said on Thursday. The DFA was responding to China's claim that the summit held by the Philippines, United States and Japan last April 11 "introduced bloc confrontation into this region." US President Joe Biden hosted Japanese Prime Minister Kishida Fumio and President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. in Washington for the first trilateral summit aimed at reinvigorating their bilateral relations and expanding economic cooperation.

READ: Deport Teves now, Timor-Leste urged

THE Department of Justice (DoJ) on Thursday called for the immediate deportation of expelled Negros Oriental lawmaker and fugitive Arnolfo Teves Jr. following allegations that his son bribed a Timor-Leste police official in exchange for special treatment of his father while in detention. Based on reports, the son of Teves offered a member of the Criminal Investigation Police (PCIC) $2,000 in exchange for "security" inside and outside Becora Prison. As a result, calls for the immediate extradition or deportation of Teves have intensified in Timor-Leste.

BUSINESS: IMF: Asian central banks should focus on inflation

Topping business, monetary policy decisions should prioritize inflation management and not be too reliant on expected moves by the US central bank, International Monetary Fund Asia and Pacific Department Director Krishna Srinivasan said in a briefing on Thursday. While most central banks are expected to achieve their targets, Srinivasan said that tailored policies were still needed. In high inflation economies, for example, tighter stances should be maintained while accommodative measures should be adopted in economies with low consumer price growth. The IMF noted that countries like Korea, Australia and New Zealand were grappling with inflation levels still above their targets, largely due to ongoing price pressures in the service sectors. In most Asian emerging markets and Japan, however, both headline and core inflation remain relatively contained. Countries such as China and Thailand, meanwhile, are experiencing low inflation, influenced by declining commodity prices and subdued demand that are exerting downward pressures on core prices. In the Philippines, inflation has already returned to the 2.0- to 4.0-percent target and has stayed there for the last four months. The rate, however, has now risen for two straight months and is expected to breach target in the second quarter. Surging inflation in the wake of Russia's invasion of Ukraine prompted monetary authorities to order rate hikes totaling 450 basis points. As a result, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas' (BSP) policy rate now stands at a near 17-year high of 6.5 percent.

SPORTS: Ginebra, TNT clash in crucial tiff

Over to sports, streaking Barangay Ginebra and San Miguel Beer take on separate opponents today, April 19, at the PhilSports Arena in Pasig as both teams continue their chase for the top 2 spots of the PBA Season 48 Philippine Cup. The chase for the top 2 rankings that dangles a twice-to-beat incentive for the playoffs remains a wide-open race. The Gin Kings (5-3) face the TNT Tropang Giga (4-3) at the 7:30 p.m. main attraction while the Beermen (5-0) are looking for their sixth straight win when they take on winless Converge FiberXers (0-7) at 4:30 p.m. Idle NLEX (5-2) and resurgent Magnolia (4-2) currently occupy the second and third spots in the standings and are also competing for the top 2 slots. San Miguel, the reigning champion, is coming from a nine-day respite or since scoring a 113-110 escape act against Terrafirma last week.

READ: Opinion and editorial

Rigoberto Tiglao and Francisco Tatad are today's front page columnists, as both continue their commentaries on the South China Sea dispute.

Today's editorial discusses the latest developments in the Middle East. Read the full version in the paper's opinion section or listen to the Voice of the Times.

For more news and information, read The Manila Times on print, subscribe to its digital edition or log on to Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok and LinkedIn; and be part of our communities on Viber, Telegram, and Mastodon.