Good day. Here are The Manila Times for Wednesday, May 31, 2023.

READ: Maharlika fund bill approved this week

SEN. Mark Villar, author of Senate Bill 2020 proposing the Maharlika Investment Fund, on Tuesday said the measure would be approved on third reading before Congress adjourns sine die on Friday, June 2, 2023. He cited numerous benefits that the country will gain once the M.I.F. bill is passed into law. He also pointed out that the M.I.F. may be used to invest in sectors such as agriculture and energy. The senator said other benefits from the investment fund would include capital accumulation, sustainable development, economic stability, financial sustainability, foreign investments and reduction of foreign debt. On Tuesday, May 30, Villar abruptly terminated the period of interpellation on the M.I.F. bill although the Senate minority bloc had not finished its long list of questions.

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READ: ‘Betty’ weakens but brings rains

TYPHOON “Betty” has further weakened over the sea east of Batanes, but it continues to bring moderate to heavy rains, especially in extreme Northern Luzon as it enhances the southwest monsoon. While Signal No. 1 was lifted in some Luzon areas, Signal No. 2 remains hoisted over Batanes and the northeastern portion of Cagayan (Santa Ana, Gonzaga) including Babuyan Islands, weather specialist Grace Castañeda of the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) said.

READ: Robin resigns as executive vice president of PDP-Laban

SEN. Robinhood Padilla on Monday, May 29, 2023, tendered his irrevocable resignation as executive vice president of the Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan to ensure he can concentrate on fulfilling his duties as senator. Padilla made it clear, however, that he would remain a member of the party and would continue to participate actively in its advocacies.

READ: Marcos orders review of tax system

PRESIDENT Ferdinand Marcos Jr. has ordered his economic managers to continue reviewing the country’s tax system and find ways “to level the playing field between foreign and local businesses,” his Finance chief said on Tuesday. Marcos presided over a sectoral meeting on Tuesday in Malacañang to discuss the fiscal incentives for exports and domestic market-oriented enterprises. At a Palace press briefing, Finance Secretary Benjamin Diokno said the economic managers will continue the review of the tax system but added that it must be preserved.

BUSINESS: Peso hits 6-month low; PSEi plunges by 1.25%

Over to business, the peso fell to a six-month low on Tuesday on concerns over a possible Federal Reserve rate hike while the stock market plunged by over 1 percent ahead of a Morgan Stanley Capital International rebalancing. The currency weakened for a second straight day, declining by 19 centavos to close the day at 56.31 pesos against the dollar. The last time it ended lower was when it hit 56.56 pesos to the dollar on November 29 last year. The benchmark Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi), meanwhile, shed 82.49 points, or 1.25 percent, to 6,510.67. The broader All Shares also retreated, dropping 35.36 points, or 1.01 percent, to settle at 3,475.05.

SPORTS: Juliana Gomez bags gold in Malaysia meet

In sports, Juliana Gomez continues to improve her fencing skills as she bagged another gold medal in an international tournament as she ruled the senior women’s epee in the 1st F.T. Open Championship 2023 on Sunday in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The 22-year-old Gomez bagged the gold medal by beating Sara Sofea Idongesit of Five Star Fencing Club KEDAH 15-12 in the finals. It was her second championship in an international competition after she won the gold medal in Thailand late last year. Gomez, the daughter of Leyte Fourth District Rep. Richard Gomez and Ormoc City Mayor Lucy Torres-Gomez won against Xin Mynn Ho of Blade Malaysia 15-11 in the semifinal round. Idongesit settled with the silver medal while Ho and Electra Goh of Selangor earned bronze medals.

READ: Opinion and editorial

Rigoberto Tiglao and Francisco Tatad are today’s front page columnists. Tiglao believes the Red movement is dying, while Tatad asks if the President will get to address crime and corruption.

Today’s editorial believes the trade pact with the European Union is vital for the Philippines’ economic growth. Read the full version in the paper’s opinion section or listen to the Voice of the Times.

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