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Duterte’s apology too late

HONG KONG (SE): The president of the Philippines, Rodrigo Duterte, who was in Hong Kong for the second time in 10 months, apologised to the Chinese people on April 12 for the Manila bus hijack hostage tragedy in 2010 in which eight Hong Kong tourists were killed during the botched rescue attempt. 
 

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Marawi Cathedral to be demolished

MANILA (UCAN): The 84-year-old St. Mary’s Cathedral in Marawi, Mindanao, will soon fall to the wrecking ball to pave the way for the rebuilding of the war-torn city.
 
Authorities said the cathedral and the bishop’s residence are no longer structurally sound because of bomb explosions, air strikes and exchanges of gunfire during the conflict.
 
Terrorist gunmen set the cathedral on fire on 23 May 2017 and took Father Teresito Suganob, the vicar general, along with several church workers and worshipers hostage.

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Netflix series glosses over Philippine drug war advocates say

MANILA (UCAN): “We call on Netflix to stop giving an audience to a show that aims to justify extrajudicial killings,” read a statement issued by a group of rights advocates, lawyers, and activists. 
 
They were demanding that the online entertainment giant stop streaming Amo (boss), an action series tackling the controversial and bloody war on drugs being waged by the government of Philippine president, Rodrigo Duterte.
 

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Philippine chief justice stands up to Duterte

MANILA (UCAN): “We are not destined for slavery but to freedom. What is evil, we denounce; what is good, we affirm,” Maria Lourdes Sereno, the chief justice of the Philippines said amid moves to impeach her from the Supreme Court. 
 
She accused the country’s president, Rodrigo Duterte, of orchestrating her ouster and preventing her from testifying in an impeachment trial.
 

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Church leaders in the Philippines welcome rebooting of peace talks

MANILA (UCAN): The president of the Philippines, Rodrigo Duterte, said at the beginning of April that he was giving the government and rebel peace panels “a timeline of two months” to resume the talks that bogged down last year.
 
He claimed that it was the rebel National Democratic Front of the Philippines that had been pressing for the resumption of negotiations.
 
Talks broke down in November after Duterte accused the rebels of attacking government installations especially in the provinces.
 

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Relic of Pope John Paul II arrives in Manila

MANILA (UCAN): “Let those who have special intentions and petitions come in veneration and prayer,” read a statement from Manila Cathedral as the Archdiocese of Manila became custodian of a precious relic of Pope St. John Paul II—a vial of his blood, as of April 7.
 
A Filipino nun based in Poland brought the relic to Manila on 11 December 2017. It is the first ever blood relic of a saint still in liquid form in the Philippines.
 

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Philippine Church groups launch network for poor

MANILA (UCAN): Catholic and Protestant Church groups in the Philippines launched the Anawim Mission Network, which aims to promote political consciousness among the poor, on April 6.
 
The network is the a result of a gathering of Church groups to mark the 500th anniversary of the Reformation.
 
“We saw the need to transform the unity and harmony developed among Christian Churches into a mission for the poor,” said Carmelite Father Rico Ponce of the Institute of Spirituality in Asia.
 

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Philippine bishops welcome resignation of justice secretary

MANILA (UCAN): “He was a secretary of injustice,” Bishop Arturo Bastes of Sorsogon said, in the wake of the resignation of Vitaliano Aguirre II, the justice secretary of the Philippines, which was announced by the president, Rodrigo Duterte, on April 5, amid questions over his job performance.
 
Bishop Bastes said he was “happy Aguirre decided to resign” because he “was not doing his job well as a secretary of justice.”
 

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Philippine bishops back call to resume peace talks

MANILA (UCAN): Catholic and Protestant bishops in the Philippines have backed calls from Congress for the government to resume peace negotiations with communist rebels.
 
Prior to Holy Week, 61 members of the Lower House of Congress signed a resolution calling on the president, Rodrigo Duterte, to resume peace talks with the rebel National Democratic Front.
 
The resolution urged the president to complete the government’s comprehensive agreements on social, economic and political reforms with the rebels. 

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Death comes for a child in Philippines’ drug war killings

MANILA (UCAN): On the eve of Passion Sunday, Agripino Martinez went to bed thinking that all his children were already asleep. He did not know that one of his sons went out in the middle of the night.
 
About midnight, Agripino woke up when he heard the repeated knocking on his door. Policemen had shot his 14-year-old son, Sean Christian, he was told.
 
Slowly, very slowly, Agripino drove his old jeep to the scene. While driving, the man’s body was shaking. Another son was crying on the passenger seat.

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