Good day. Here are the stories for The Manila Times for Wednesday, June 19, 2024.

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READ: 4 policemen guilty of drug war killings

FOUR Philippine policemen were found guilty on Tuesday of killing a father and son, court officials said, in a rare case of law enforcement officers being prosecuted for taking part in former president Rodrigo Duterte's deadly drug war. The low-ranking officers were all sentenced to up to 10 years in prison for the shooting deaths of the two victims at a Manila slum during an antidrug police operation in 2016, Manila Regional Trial Court Judge Rowena Alejandria said in her written verdict that was read in court on Tuesday. Luis Bonifacio was 45, and his son Gabriel Bonifacio was 19 when they were killed. Thousands of drug suspects were killed by police and unknown gunmen in a campaign that became the centerpiece of Duterte's rule from 2016–2022, a crackdown that critics described as state-sponsored extrajudicial killings and is now a subject of an investigation by the International Criminal Court.

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READ: 8 navy men hurt after Chinese block supply mission

AT least eight Filipino naval personnel were injured, including one who reportedly lost a finger, after Chinese vessels prevented Philippine ships from carrying out a routine rotation and resupply (RoRe) mission to its troops stationed on the BRP Sierra Madre in Ayungin (Second Thomas) Shoal on Monday, June 17. According to reports, members of the Philippine Naval Special Operations Group sustained injuries after the Chinese People's Liberation ArmyNavy, China Coast Guard (CCG) and Chinese maritime militia vessels intercepted the six Filipino ships conducting the mission. CCG personnel even boarded one of the rigid-hulled inflatable boats and confiscated the weapons of the Filipino troops onboard.

READ: Search for Filipino sailor killed in sea attack begins

THE Department of Migrant Workers (DMW) on Tuesday said that a search was underway for the Filipino seafarer killed in the Houthi rebel's attack on the international vessel MV Tutor. In a statement on Tuesday, the DMW, while declaring the Filipino as "missing," said the Philippine Embassy in Athens, Greece, was informed of the search operation.

READ: US renews warning it's obligated to defend PH

THE United States renewed a warning Tuesday that it was obligated to defend its close treaty ally a day after Filipino navy personnel were injured and their supply boats damaged in one of the most serious confrontations between the Philippines and China in a disputed shoal in the South China Sea, officials said. China and the Philippines blamed each other for instigating Monday's hostilities in the Second Thomas Shoal, which has been occupied by a small Filipino navy contingent aboard a grounded warship that's been closely watched by Chinese coast guard, navy and suspected militia ships in a years-long territorial standoff. There is fear the disputes, long regarded as an Asian flashpoint, could escalate and pit the United States and China in a larger conflict.

READ: Celtics rout Mavs to win record 18th NBA crown

Jayson Tatum produced a dazzling 31-point display as the Boston Celtics dominated the Dallas Mavericks, 106-88, to clinch a record-breaking 18th NBA championship crown on Monday (Tuesday in Manila). Humbled by Dallas in a 38-point Game 4 drubbing on Friday, Boston slammed the door on any chance of a Mavericks fightback to seal a 4-1 series victory at an electric TD Garden. Tatum spearheaded a superb performance at both ends of the floor as Boston pulled clear of their archrival Los Angeles Lakers to stand alone with 18 NBA titles. The emphatic win came 16 years to the day after Boston's last NBA Finals win — over the Lakers — in 2008.

READ: Paalam says he has unfinished business in Paris Olympics

BOXER Carlo Paalam is ready to pick up where he left off in his previous Olympics stint. For his second Olympics appearance, a different Paalam will step into the ring as he is now a man of focus, commitment and sheer will — ready to do whatever it takes to take home the gold medal in the 2024 Paris Olympics. Paalam won silver in his Olympic debut at the 2020 Tokyo Games. This time, he aims to not settle for a second place finish and exceed his previous performance.

SPORTS: Cone expects complete Gilas squad in Calamba

TIM Cone expects the 12-man Gilas Pilipinas squad to be present when the national squad regroups on June 21 at the Inspire Sports Academy in Calamba, Laguna. Cone said he'll be "cognizant" of the players, who just came from a tough PBA Philippine Cup Finals, which Meralco won, 4-2 against powerhouse San Miguel Beer on Sunday. June Mar Fajardo and CJ Perez of San Miguel, along with Meralco wingman Chris Newsome, who won the Finals Most Valuable Player, are part of the Gilas squad that saw action in the PBA Philippine Cup Finals. Gilas will have three days of closed-door practice in Calamba as the national side begins its preparation for the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament slated from July 2 to 7 in Riga, Latvia. Cone confirmed that Gilas' build up for the FIBA OQT involves a tuneup match versus Turkey on June 24, though details of that friendly game are still being ironed out as of the moment.

BUSINESS: PH competitiveness unchanged

Over to business, the Philippines has maintained its position in an annual global competitiveness ranking after falling four places last year, data released by the Switzerland-based International Institute for Management Development (IMD) showed on Tuesday. At 52nd, it was in the bottom fourth of a list of 67 economies (the list last year was shorter at 64) and remained next to last — 13th out of 14 — among its peers in the Asia-Pacific region. The country improved in terms of government efficiency, gaining three spots to 49th and stayed in 40th place with regard to economic performance. It fell three spots, however, to 43rd in the area of business efficiency and saw its infrastructure ranking slip to 61st from 58th last year. Challenges this year, the IMD noted, involve sustaining job-generating investments, ensuring food security to control inflation and keep prices affordable, addressing learning gaps to improve the educational system, building sustainable infrastructure in light of climate change and resolving the country's rights to the West Philippine Sea. Broken down further, the Philippines had its worst score in the area of education — a sub-factor of the infrastructure ranking — at 63rd, down one spot from 2023. It also saw its basic infrastructure position slip to 62nd from 58th. Its best scores were in the areas of tax policy — 15th from 14th last year — and employment — 10th from 9th. The former is a subfactor of the government efficiency score while the latter is part of the economic performance measure.

READ: Opinion and editorial

Rigoberto Tiglao, Fr. Ranhilio Aquino, and Francisco Tatad are today's front page columnists. Tiglao calls for an end of "gutter level" arguing over the South China Sea issue, Fr. Aquino looks into the United States and its interests and allies, and Tatad weighs in on the debate on the divorce bill.

Today's editorial calls on Washington to answer for its campaign in discrediting the Sinovac vaccine. Read the full version in the paper's opinion section or listen to the Voice of the Times.

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