Good day. Here are the stories for The Manila Times for Monday, May 8, 2023.

READ: Maharlika bill heads priority measures list

PRESIDENT Ferdinand Marcos Jr. approved the inclusion of 11 bills to the administration’s priority measures, House Speaker Ferdinand Martin Romualdez said on Sunday. The additional bills, which included the Maharlika fund bill, brought to 42 the number of measures under the Common Legislative Agenda (CLA) of the Legislative-Executive Development Advisory Council (Ledac).

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READ: Go Negosyo Tourism Summit hailed a success

GO Negosyo’s Tourism Summit 2023 was seen as a big success, opening new opportunities for stakeholders in the tourism industry. Go Negosyo founder and Private Sector Advisory Council lead Jose Ma. “Joey” Concepcion 3rd said the summit brought together tourism industry experts, policymakers, professionals, entrepreneurs, social media influencers, and micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in a daylong sharing of insights on the future of Philippine tourism.

READ: Inflation expected to dampen growth

AN investment house executive expects the country’s growth to be modest this year, weighed down by inflationary pressures and high interest rates. Eduardo Francisco, president of BDO Capital and Investment Corp., projected a 5.5 to 6.0 percent gross domestic product (GDP) for 2023, as growth slows down slightly for the rest of the year. Guesting in the “Business and Politics” program on SMNI hosted by The Manila Times Chairman and CEO Dante “Klink” Ang 2nd, Francisco said higher inflation and interest rates toned down the Philippines’ upbeat outlook. The government projected a growth outlook of 6.0 to 7.0 percent, citing risks from geopolitical and trade tensions, a possible global economic slowdown, and weather disturbances.

READ: Philippines bags 6 more golds but drops to No. 3

The Philippines on Sunday collected six gold medals from the obstacle course race, duathlon, karate, jiu-jitsu and soft tennis in the 32nd Southeast Asian (SEA) Games. The total gold haul of 13, plus 14 silvers and 18 bronzes was not enough to retain the No. 2 spot for the country in the medal standings. As of 6 p.m. on Sunday, the Filipinos dropped to third place behind Indonesia which has 14 golds, 11 silvers and 21 bronzes. Host Cambodia created a sizable separation from the rest of the pack with a 26-gold, 20-silver and 21-bronze harvest.

SPORTS: OCR captures two more golds in SEAG

Speaking of gold medalists, the Philippine women and men obstacle course race (OCR) relay teams ruled their respective divisions on Sunday, May 7, to capture two gold medals in the 32nd Southeast Asian Games. Speeding their way at the Chroy Changvar Convention Center car park, the women’s team of Sandi Menchi Abahan, Mecca Cortizano, Milky Tejares, Maritess Nocyao clocked 33.73 seconds to win their final against Indonesia. The Indonesian team composed of Anggun Hadi, Ayu Sari, Mudji Mulyani, and Rahmayuna Fadillah timed 35.06 seconds to finish second and claim a silver medal. Malaysians Ong Sher Lyn, Tan Sui Lin Renee, Wan Athirah Hidayah Ahmad Fuzli, Yip Hui Teng registered 41.01 seconds to finish third and settle for bronze. The Filipinos managed to overtake the Indonesians who were leading up until the third stage of the race. Cortizano saved the day for the Philippines as she beat her counterpart in the fourth and last part of the race.

BUSINESS: Analysts: PH growth likely fell to 6% in Q1

Over to business, Philippine economic growth could have slowed to 6.0 percent in the first quarter, economists polled by The Manila Times said, with high inflation and interest rates seen as having weighed on consumption. All 12 analysts surveyed expect a substantial drop from the 8.2 percent posted a year ago and October-December 2022’s 7.1 percent. Forecasts ranged from 4.7 percent to 6.8 percent with a 6.05 percent median, at the lower end of the government’s 2023 target of 6.0-7.0 percent. Preliminary first quarter gross domestic product (GDP) growth data is scheduled to be released by the Philippine Statistics Authority this Thursday, May 11.

READ: Opinion and editorial

Fr. Ranhilio Aquino and Francisco Tatad are today’s front page columnists. Fr. Aquino deciphers “grave abuse of discretion”, while Tatad asks if Filipinos are safer now.

Today’s editorial believes cryptocurrency scammers and human trafficking are common in corruption. Read the full version in the paper’s opinion section or listen to the Voice of the Times.

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For The Manila Times, this is Kim Isabelle Dignadice.