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Caritas Philippines appeals for aid for earthquake victims

MANILA (UCAN): Caritas Philipines launched a solidarity appeal to help the earthquake-hit northern province of Batanes.
 
Authorities declared a state of calamity in the town of Itbayat following two powerful earthquakes on July 27 that left nine people dead and 63 injured.
 
Among the structures devastated by the earthquake were centuries-old churches, schools, houses and other buildings.
 

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Avoid Hong Kong protests Filipino bishop advises

MANILA (UCAN): Bishop Ruperto Santos, head of the Episcopal Commission on Migrants and Itinerant People of Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines, said it would be in the best interests of Filipinos not to take part in any gathering. On August 3, Hong Kong police arrested a Filipino migrant worker as he was passing an area where anti extradition bill protesters had gathered.
 

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Growing global concern over targeted killings in Philippines

MANILA (UCAN): International human right groups have expressed growing concern over reports of assassinations in the Philippines, especially of activists, in recent months.
Several members of the United States (US) Congress have already spoken out against what they described as “serious human rights abuses” in the country.
 
Representative Ann Wagner, head of the Congressional Caucus on Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), has noted the attacks on tribal schools and tribal leaders especially in Mindanao.

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Anguish in the Philippines as lush lands become killing fields

Belligerents in Asia’s longest-running armed conflict have left residents on Negros, the Philippines’ fourth largest island, terrorised over the last two weeks of July.
 
Armed men killed 21 people in 10 days, now 300 elite police commandos have headed for the island, which has two provinces and a population of four million people.
 








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Lawmakers warned about Duterte’s death penalty bid

MANILA (UCAN): In his July 22 State of the Nation Address (Sunday Examiner, July 28), the president of the Philippines, Rodrigo Duterte, said that he wanted capital punishment reinstated for “heinous crimes related to illegal drugs and plunder.”
 
Rodolfo Diamante, executive secretary of the Episcopal Commission on Prison Pastoral Care, urged members of Congress to work for the welfare of the people and “not to pass measures just to please the president.”
 

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Radio journalist shot dead in southern Philippines

MANILA (UCAN): A radio news anchor, Eduardo Dizon, was shot dead by motorcycle-riding gunmen in the southern Philippine city of Kidapawan as he was driving home at around 10pm local time on June 10, adding to the growing number of media workers killed in the country.
 
Dizon became the 13th journalist murdered in the line of duty since the president, Rodrigo Duterte, came to power in 2016.
 

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Philippine bishops get renewed radio franchise

MANILA (UCAN): The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines renewed its franchise to operate radio stations in the country for another 25 years even without the signature of the country’s president, Rodrigo Duterte, who had repeatedly threatened to close media outlets critical of his administration.
 
A bill seeking to extend the franchise became law on April 22 after Duterte did not act on the matter. Under the 1987 constitution, the president has 30 days to sign a measure into law or veto it after receiving it from Congress.

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Bombed Philippine cathedral reopens

MANILA (UCAN): The Cathedral of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel in the violence-plagued southern Philippine town of Jolo reopened on July 16, nearly six months after a fatal January 27 bombing attack (Sunday Examiner, February 10). Five soldiers were among those killed in the twin explosions that rocked the cathedral which also caused serious damage to the  structure which was later repaired with help from the charity, Aid to the Church in Need.
 

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Sedition charges smacks of harassment

MANILA (UCAN): “They are based on nothing but false testimony. What motivates the supposed witness to give false testimonies is what in fact (the police) should be investigating,” Bishop Virgilio David of Kalookan, said in reaction to the filing by Philippine authorities of charges of inciting sedition, cyber libel, libel and obstruction of justice against himself, three other Catholic bishops, three priests, a religious brother, the country’s vice president and 35 members of the opposition.
 

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Duterte diffident on China in SONA

MANILA (UCAN): In his State of the Nation Address (SONA) delivered on July 22 at the Batasang Pambansa Complex, in Quezon City, Philippine president, Rodrigo Duterte, insisted the West Philippine Sea belonged to his country, but defended his agreement to allow Chinese fishermen to operate in the area, saying it was not a constitutional violation. 
 
The South China Morning Post reported him as saying he made the agreement with China’s president, Xi Jinping, to ensure there would be no war in the disputed South China Sea.

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