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Philippine Christians unite against Duterte tirades

MANILA (UCAN): An estimated 3,000 Catholic and Protestants from various religious groups formed a human chain and lit candles to profess their “unity in faith and action” as they took to the streets of Manila, the Philippines, on January 25, to denounce what they claimed is a campaign being waged against the Church, primarily by the president, Rodrigo Duterte.
 
They said they had gathered “to declare that our God is not stupid.”
 

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Philippine bishops break silence on ‘disturbing issues’

MANILA (UCAN): The Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines broke what it described as a “collective silence” over “many disturbing issues” that have confronted the country in recent months.
 
In a pastoral statement issued at the end of their biennial meeting in Manila on January 28, the bishops asked forgiveness “for the length of time that it took us to find our collective voice.” 
 

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Ignore Duterte tirades archbishop says

Manila (UCAN): In a New Year message framed as an open letter to his godson, Seth, Archbishop Socrates Villegas of Lingayen-Dagupan, former head of the Catholic Bishop’s Conference of the Philippines, called on people to ignore repeated rants against the Church by the country’s president, Rodrigo Duterte.
 
“Do not listen to him who tells you it is useless to go to church and attend Mass. Whoever teaches you that is an anti-Christ and there are many of them, including those who look at it is a joke,” the archbishop.

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A test of will for Philippine Church leaders

MANILA (UCAN): It was a test of will and determination to be witnesses of the gospel in the face of the attacks, and even threats to the lives, of both Catholic and Protestant Church leaders in the Philippines.
 
The year 2018 saw members of the clergy being vilified for being corrupt, for being child abusers, and even for having alleged links with drug syndicates and communists.
 

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Duterte threatens to put tribal people in hamlets

MANILA (UCAN): Philippine president, Rodrigo Duterte, warned that he will place tribal people in “hamlets” to keep them from being influenced by communist rebels in a speech on December 18. 
 
“I will hamlet them. Why? Because if they remain scattered, they are really in danger,” Duterte said during a summit of village leaders in the southern region of Mindanao.
“I cannot get their loyalty if they are scattered because they are afraid to be far from each other,” the president said.
 

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Martial law in Mindanao extended a third time

MANILA (UCAN): The Mindanao, the Philippines, and its approximately 25.5 million population will remain under military rule for another 12 months, or until the end of 2019 after joint session of Congress on approved a request by the president, Rodrigo Duterte, to extend martial law across the region on December 12.
 
Voting 235 in favour, 28 against, and with one abstention, the country’s senators and congressmen also extended the government’s ability to arrest “persons of interest” without a warrant until 31 December 2019.

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Duterte called out for attacking Church

MANILA (UCAN): Catholics in the Philippines are not letting relentless attacks on the Church and its leaders by the president, Rodrigo Duterte, go unchallenged.
 
The influential Sangguniang Laiko ng Pilipinas, the Council of the Laity, said “more than ever, (Catholics) are called upon to live a life worthy of our Christian vocation.”
 
The lay organisation has called on Catholics “to stand up for God and defend our faith in Him ... (and) renew our commitment to go and fill our churches.”

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Duterte renews attacks on Church

MANILA (UCAN): Archbishop Romulo Valles of Davao, head of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines, said Church leaders are “saddened and disturbed” by the recent statements by Philippine president, Rodrigo Duterte, who renewed his attacks on the country’s Catholic leaders and urged Filipinos to stop going to church altogether.
 
Duterte, who earlier this year called God “stupid,” suggested that people should instead build their own chapels where they can pray.
 

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Martial law extension in Mindanao mooted

MANILA (UCAN): “Tribal schools have been attacked by the military on the basis of martial law and the unfounded claim that these schools are communist fronts,” Rius Valle, a spokesperson for the Save Our Schools (SOS) Network said, responding to indications from the Philippine military on November 14 that it is keen to extend martial law period in Mindanao until the end of 2019.
 

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Fight injustice nun says as she leaves Philippines

MANILA (UCAN): “Pope Francis said you can’t call yourself a Christian if there are massive human rights violations and you are just silent,” Australian Sister Patricia Fox, of the Sisters of Our Lady of Sion, said as was finally compelled to leave the Philippines on the evening of November 3, after the Bureau of Immigration refused to extend her missionary visa.
 

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