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Protection offer to Philippine bishops and priests

MANILA (UCAN): Philippine authorities offered protection to Catholic bishops and priests following reports that several Church leaders have received death threats in recent weeks.
National police chief, Oscar Albayalde, said the offer was discussed with Luis Cardinal Tagle of Manila.
 
“We offered them protection and even threat validation,” said Albayalde, adding that he assured help for any priest facing any form of threat.
 

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Philippine bishop not cowed by threats

MANILA (UCAN): Bishop Pablo Virgilio David of Kalookan, Metro Manila, the Philippines, who has received death threats for criticising the Rodrigo Duterte’s government’s bloody narcotics crackdown, said while he fears for his safety, he “fears more for children and the poor victims of this drug war” and vowed to continue speaking out against it.
 

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Wolves prowl while the muted shepherds cower

Inday Espina-Varona
 
The arrest of Father Kenneth Hendricks, an American priest who allegedly abused minors gave Philippine president, Rodrigo Duterte, a weapon against clergy who dare to criticise his bloody war against narcotics.
 
Police served five more arrest warrants on the priest, who was nabbed in December by a joint team of Philippine and American law enforcers in the central Philippines (Sunday Examiner, 16 December 2018).








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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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