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A country that tortures and murders children

MANILA (UCAN): The recent murders of three teenagers in Manila as part of what the president, Rodrigo Duterte, likes to call his war on drugs, have provided a compelling reason for people to rethink their support for the campaign.
 
“There are far too many deaths that demand answers,” Jose Luis Martin Gaston, the chairperson of the Commission on Human Rights, said following the discovery of the hog-tied and tortured remains of 14-year-old Reynaldo de Guzman, whose body was found floating face down in a creek on September 5.

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Pork Barrel first the poor can wait

MANILA (UCAN): Faced with the high costs of the siege and martial law in Mindanao coupled with the billions of pesos eaten up by the slaughter campaign disguised as a war on drugs, the poor of The Philippines are being dealt a further blow with a radical slashing of social service budgets.
 
Instead, billions of pesos are being transferred to budgets for the most indefinable and least transparent area of state expenditure; security.
 

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The good the ugly and the uglier

MANILA (SE): After a week when over 90 people died in the ongoing purge of the poor orchestrated by the president of The Philippines, Rodrigo Duterte, many more people began questioning the true intention of his so-called war on drugs.
 
“But if it has done nothing else, it has shown every Filipino up for what they are,” lay missionary, John Ding, told the Sunday Examiner on August 18, two days after a 17-year-old student, Kian delos Santos, was shot in the back, even though police claim he was killed in self-defence.

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History teaches but who learns?

DAVAO (UCAN): “If rationality still matters in this beleaguered Republic of The Philippines, how have we, as a people, shifted once more to supporting a rising authoritarianism?” Brother Karl Gaspar, a veteran of the resistance to the bloody regime orchestrated by former president, Ferdinand Marcos, asks.
 

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The state of the president address

MANILA (SE): Displaying a verbosity reminiscent of Lee Kwan-yew, but without the eloquence of the former prime minister of Singapore, the president of the Republic of The Philippines, Rodrigo Duterte, regaled his hapless people for well over two hours in his second State of the Nation Address (SONA) on July 24.
 

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The Year of the Killing

MANILA (UCAN): In the run up to the second State of the Nation Address from the president of The Philippines, Rodrigo Duterte, pockets of the streets of the country were alive with rallies calling for an end to the rampant killing in his so-called drug war and an end to repressive state policies.
 
But one rally staged by teenage girls from St. Scholastica’s College in Manila hit the mark for originality, as they took to the streets to proclaim Duterte’s first year in power as The Year of the Killing.
 

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No to labelling Muslims

MANILA (UCAN): Human rights and religious groups have voiced opposition to a proposal from the Philippine National Police to issue identification cards to Muslims in The Philippines as a measure to root out extremists in the southern regions of the country.
 
Sister Famita Somogod, from the Rural Missionaries of The Philippines, called it discriminatory, adding that it highlights religion as being an issue in the current conflict that Mindanao is experiencing, which it is not.
 

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No lowering of age of criminal liability

MANILA (UCAN): A decision by the lower house of the congress in Manila to overrule a bill proposing that the age of criminal liability for young people be lowered from the current 15 to as young as nine has been welcomed by rights advocates, prison chaplaincies and social workers.
 
“What is needed is to implement and strengthen the current law in dealing with children in conflict with the law,” Rodolfo Diamante, the secretary of the Commission on Prison Pastoral Care, said on May 29.
 

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First Mindanao then the country?

HONG KONG (SE): Two terrorist attacks on opposite sides of the world took place within 24 hours of each other on May 22 and 23.
 
In England, a bomb was detonated at a pop concert leaving some 22 mostly young people dead and in The Philippines, the city of Marawi in the troubled region of Mindanao was attacked, leaving many dozens more dead and hundreds of thousands of lives disrupted, a church in flames and Father Chito Suganob, as well as some 14 parishioners and 20 staff and students from the Protestant Dansalan College, abducted.

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Self-interest the big winner over the common good

MANILA (SE): Even in a country where honesty in government requires the commitment of a saint, the gutsy determination of a boxer, the courage of an explorer and a skin as thick as a rhinoceros, the decision to reject the appointment of Gina Lopez as secretary of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources by the Commission on Appointments stands out as one of the more outlandish victories of self-interest over the common good.
 

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