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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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Bishop regrets dismissal of top labour official

MANILA (UCAN): Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo of Manila has expressed regret over the decision of the president, Rodrigo Duterte, to dismiss a top labour official for allegedly failing to put a stop to workers’ strikes.
 
Bishop Pabillo said the president’s decision to fire Joel Maglunsod, which was announced on October 2, was “very unfortunate” because the official understood the plight of workers.
 

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Mary Jane Veloso abandoned by Philippine government

MANILA (UCAN): The family of Mary Jane Veloso, who has been languishing on Indonesia’s death row since a 2011 conviction for drug trafficking, decried what her father, Cesar, described as the Philippine government’s lack of concern about the notorious case.
 
Veloso was arrested in 2010 by Indonesian authorities after 2.6 kilogrammes of heroin were found inside her luggage on her arrival in Jakarta from Malaysia. She claimed to have been duped being a drug mule by two recruiters: Maria Cristina Sergio and Julius Lacanilao. 

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Bishops dismiss Duterte’s resignation threat

MANILA (UCN): At least two Catholic bishops have dismissed the threat by Philippine president, Rodrigo Duterte, that he would resign out of frustration over his failure to address corruption in government.
 
In a speech on August 14, Duterte said he was ready to quit the presidency should the military and police find the right successor.
 

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