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Who remembers what the pope said?

The Philippines seems to be off the international comment agenda of late. Even Pope Francis seems to have forgotten about its existence since his triumphant Palm Sunday-like entrance into Manila in 2015.
 
Papal condolences have been sent to France, Egypt and England on more than one occasion in recent days, but after a catastrophe in a Manila resort, a besieged city and declaration of martial law, as well as a kidnapped priest and people, some in The Philippines must be wondering what more they have to do to do to rate a papal mention.








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Top Muslim body condemns attack on Marawi

COTABATO (SE): “And we have not sent you (O Muhammad), except as a mercy to the world,” the Regional Dural Ifta (House of Opinions) says in a statement condemning the attack on and occupation of Marawi City, in The Philippines by what it describes as the un-Islamic Maute Group.
 
The Cotabato City-based Dural quotes the Sura Al-Anbiya in an appeal to the Maute to abandon its occupation of the city saying, “If they are true Muslims, they must adhere to the teachings and principles of Islam and bring mercy to this world.”

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I saw the murders once… then a thousand times in my dreams

The bishops of The Philippines say they have the same dream for the country as the president, but they want a society built on care, justice and respect, while the president is trying to create a traumatised society hypnotised into obedience. Violence produces trauma… and trauma destroys… We tell just one story
 
 








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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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Don’t demonise the Muslim

COTABATO (SE): Officials of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao are appealing for help as thousands of displaced people continue to arrive in evacuation sites around the besieged city of Marawi in the southern Philippines.
 
As of June 2, the Crisis Management Committee in the region has recorded that at least 133,700 people from Marawi have sought refuge in evacuation centres.
 

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If martial law’s the answer what’s the question?

HONG KONG (SE): Many have asked if martial law is the answer to the crisis in Mindanao, but the director of the Columban Mission Society in Manila, Father Paul Glynn, says it is not even clear what the question is.
 
Noting that the age-old enmity between Muslims and Christians was first sown by the Spanish colonisers of the country some 500 years ago to undermine the influence of the traditional sultanates, he says that it has become so deeply ingrained as to be not easily uprooted.
 

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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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Arrests over media murder

MANILA (UCAN): The governor of Catanduanes, Joseph Cua, an aide, Prince Lim Subion, and police officer, Vincent Tacorda, were charged with murder in The Philippines on the eve of International Press Freedom Day of a journalist, Larry Que, on December 19 last year.
The publisher of Catanduanes News Now is the first murdered media person to officially have their death directly linked with their work, as he was killed two weeks after he published an article linking government officials to the illegal drug trade in his province.
 

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More heat than light at drug conference

HONG KONG (UCAN): While an international gathering held in Manila in the first week of May on different perspectives of the illegal drug trade generated a lot of heat, not much light emanated from the sometimes caustic accusations that were slung at each other by the delegates.
 

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