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Hong Kong’s Filipinos pray for peace and unity on independence day

HONG KONG (SE): The Filipino community in Hong Kong gathered at Chater Road, Central, and prayed for peace and unity as they celebrated the country’s 121st Independence Day on June 9, three days ahead of the actual date on June 12.
 
The day’s programme kicked off with an ecumenical prayer service with the leaders of the Catholic, Protestant and Muslim communities praying for good governance, peace and unity in the country. 
 

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Rebuild of Marawi cathedral on hold

MARAWI (UCAN): The rebuilding of St. Mary’s Cathedral in the Marawi, in Lanao del Sur, Mindanao, will have to wait until mosques are restored in the war-ravaged city according Brother Reynaldo Barnido, executive director of the non-government Duyog Marawi (Together Marawi) group.
 
The church was desecrated and burned by terrorist gunmen when they attacked the country’s so-called Islamic capital in May 2017, kicking off a five-month conflict.
 

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Journalist to sue police for wrongful detention

MANILA (UCAN): “I will sue them,” Margarita Valle, said after she was arrested on June 9 having been supposedly “mistaken” for a wanted person in Mindanao, the southern Philippines, 
 
The columnist with the Davao Today newspaper, will sue the police for illegal detention, recounted that police officers ignored her appeals to call friends to verify her identity and held her incommunicado for 12 hours. She said that they also failed to read her her rights and refused a request to examine the warrant for her arrest.

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Philippine bishops decry China’s ‘continuous bullying’

MANILA (UCAN): “They have no respect for our territory nor respect for Filipino lives,” Bishop Arturo Bastes of Sorsogon, the Philippines said, following the sinking of a Filipino fishing boat and the abandonment of its crew by a Chinese vessel on June 9. He called the incident a manifestation of China’s lack of respect for Philippine sovereignty.
 
He joined at least two other Catholic bishops in the growing protest in Manila against what they described as China’s “continuous bullying…”
 

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Fighting for breathable air

Mark Saludes
 
Face masks have become part of Grace Francisco’s daily “survival kit.” Without it, her day could either end with anti-allergy medicine or a trip to the nearest hospital.
 
Francisco cannot let pollution in the city trigger the asthma that has worsened since she migrated to Manila from her province to work.
 

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Young Filipino named Servant of God

MANILA (UCAN):  A Filipino teenager, Darwin Ramos, could be on his way to sainthood after the Vatican declared him a Servant of God, the first step in the long process toward canonisation as a saint. The declaration was made by Angelo Cardinal Becciu, prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, on March 29 but was only made public in Manila, the Philippines, on May 31. Ramos died in 2012 at the age of 17.
 

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Marawi recovering but rights abuses lamented

MANILA (UCAN): The physical rehabilitation of Marawi, in Lanao del Sur, Mindanao, the Philippines, has yet to take off two years after the end of a five-month siege in which extremist gunmen, claiming allegiance with the Islamic State, were ousted by government forces. 
 
Marawi was attacked on 23 May 2017. The ensuing battle hammered the city until 23 October 2017 and displaced about half a million people.
 
However, officials said the people are on their way to being well.
 

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Move to strike jail terms for minor crimes lauded

MANILA (UCAN): The Episcopal Commission on Prison Pastoral Care of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines welcomed the passage of a bill seeking to reduce prison overcrowding by imposing community service instead of jail terms for minor offenses. 
 
The bill was passed by the Senate on its third and final reading on June 3. 
 
The episcopal commission has for years been advocating the adoption of the measure as part of its campaign for “restorative justice.”
 

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Muslims and Christians build bridges over dinner

MANILA (UCAN): Muslim and Christian groups in Manila held a charity dinner on June 8 to promote peace and fight what they described as anti-Islamic sentiments. The event included a discussion on the security situation in the southern Philippines and “prejudices against Islam” especially in the Mindanao region.
 
Amirah Lidasan, secretary-general of the Moro-Christian People’s Alliance, said the activity was designed to foster unity and encourage inter-faith dialogue.
 

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Caritas Manila welcomes new anti-poverty law

MANILA (CNS): “That’s what good government is all about, taking care of the poor and marginalised,” Father Anton Pascual, executive director of Caritas Manila, said in reaction to the passage of a law that aims to uplift the lives of poor people and address hunger in the Philippines.
 
The government announced on May 28 that the president, Rodrigo Duterte, had signed Republic Act 11291—dubbed the Magna Carta of the Poor into law, giving those struggling to make a living easier access to government services.

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