February 2019

Pope St. Paul VI gets feast day
(Saturday, 16 February 2019 )

VATICAN CITY (CNS): Pope Francis approved putting Pope St. Paul VI on the Church’s General Roman Calendar, the universal schedule of holy days and feast days for the Latin rite of the Catholic Church. The celebration is as an optional—not obligatory— memorial to be observed on May 29.
The decree, was issued by the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments on January 25 and published by the Vatican of February 6 the feast of the Conversion of St....

Lawmakers U-turn on death penalty for party drugs
(Saturday, 16 February 2019 )

Manila (UCAN): In a dramatic U-turn, members of the Philippines’ Lower House of Congress decided on February 4 to drop provisions in a bill that could reimpose the death penalty for people found possessing illegal drugs at parties and social gatherings.
“We decided to reconsider approval (of the bill) in order to clarify provisions that refer to the death penalty,” Fredenil Castro, majority leader of the House of Representatives, said.

Former police chief asks forgiveness for drug war deaths
(Saturday, 16 February 2019 )

Manila (UCAN): “I am asking for forgiveness for all those killed in our war on drugs because it (bothers) my conscience,” Ronald dela Rosa, the retired chief of the Philippine National Police, said on February 6.
After his retirement in April last year, the one-time national police chief was named director-general of the Bureau of Corrections. He is now running for the Philippine Senate in the upcoming midterm elections in May.
Human rights...

Funding cut impacts education initiative for the underprivileged
(Saturday, 16 February 2019 )

DHAKA (UCAN): Caritas Bangladesh has closed a major education scheme for poor and underprivileged children after the project’s term ended and donors decided to discontinue funding.
The project, called Aloghor (Lighthouse) was part of the Supporting the Hardest to Reach through Basic Education (SHARE) non-formal primary education programme of the European Union.
In 2012, Caritas Bangladesh received €10 million ($86.6 million) in...

Peace consultant killed by gunmen
(Saturday, 16 February 2019 )

MANILA (UCAN): Randy Felix Malayao, 49, a consultant for the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP), was shot dead on January 30 sparking an outcry among rights and peace advocates.
Gunmen shot in the communist rebel peace consultant head while he was sleeping on a bus in Nueva Vizcaya province.
The NDFP is a coalition of groups involved in an ongoing communist insurgency in various parts of the country. It has long been engaged in peace...

New bishop of Cotabato installed amid security threats
(Saturday, 16 February 2019 )

COTABATO CITY (UCAN): Archbishop Angelito Lampon of the Oblates of Mary Immaculate succeeded Orlando Cardinal Quevedo as the head the Archdiocese of Cotabato, Mindanao, on January 30. 
The installation ceremony took place amid tight security following the bombing of the Cathedral of Our Lady of Mount Carmel in Jolo, Sulu province, three days prior. At least 21 people were killed and 97 others wounded in the January 27 attack (Sunday Examiner, February 10)....

Myitsone Dam protest leader vows to fight on
(Saturday, 16 February 2019 )

MANDALAY (UCAN): A court in Myanmar’s Kachin State fined Bernadette Ja Hkawng 10,000 kyats ($50) for violating the peaceful assembly law.
Police in Myitkyina, the capital of Kachin, charged Hkawng, who organised a protest on February 7 against the Myitsone Dam project, for using unauthorised slogans and a loudspeaker. 
“I work for the people not only in Kachin but also across the country, so I am ready to face any challenge,”...

The jail houses of pain and suffering
(Saturday, 16 February 2019 )

The good news is that on February 4, the Philippine Senate 4th of adjourned without a vote to lower the age of children from 15-years-old to 12 years of age who will be held liable for acts considered criminal in nature. That vote may come the first week of June. 
The politicians in the Lower House of Congress, without serious reflection or listening to expert opinion of doctors and psychologists or having a meaningful debate, decided 9-year-old...

Two Filipino bishops pass away on same day
(Saturday, 16 February 2019 )

MANILA (Agencies): Bishop Dinualdo Gutierrez and Bishop Nicolas Mondejar, the former bishops of the dioceses of Marbel in South Cotabato, and San Carlos, Negros Occidental, the Philippines, died within hours of each other on February 1.
Bishop Gutierrez, who would have turned 80-years-old on February 20, died early in the morning had reportedly been suffering from prostate cancer and obstructive pulmonary disease.
Bishop Mondejar, who at 94-years-old was...

Lack of faith and corruption in China Church
(Saturday, 16 February 2019 )

John Lo
Chinese government officials often make headlines for engaging in graft, or suspected graft, but it seems that Church superiors are also susceptible to corruption on a potentially alarming scale.
Bishop Joseph Tan Yanquan of the Diocese Nanning in Guangxi Province, southern China, is a case in point. He is suspected of embezzling 27 million yuan ($31.41 million) in Church funds to open at least five private...