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Philippine Congress passes bill creating new Muslim region

MANILA (UCAN): Philippine lawmakers finally passed a bill that will pave the way for the creation of a new Muslim region in Mindanao, but critics warn that it still does not allow the Moro people the right to self-determination.
 
The Lower House of Congress overwhelmingly approved the controversial and long-awaited Bangsamoro Basic Law on May 30 by 227 to 11 against with two abstentions, while the Senate passed it before dawn on May 31.
 

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Typhoon Haiyan victims still piecing it together four years on

TACLOBAN (UCAN):  To date, Caritas has been able to help about 1.8 million people affected by the destruction brought by Super Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda), which struck the central Philippines in 2013.
 
Five years on from the disaster, the Church’s recovery and rehabilitation programme has become one of its largest and far-reaching natural disaster responses, amounting to about US$50 million ($392 million).
 

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Duterte descends to slandering the dead

MANILA (UCAN): Bishop Pablo Virgilio David of Kalookan, the Philippines condemned speculation by the president, Rodrigo Duterte, in which he attempted to insinuate that the murdered priest, Father Mark Anthony Ventura, was having an affair with eight women. 
 
The bishop lamented that Father Ventura had been murdered a “second time” by the comments. 
 

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Sister Fox defies order to leave

MANILA (UCAN): Australian missionary Sister Patricia Fox, who was ordered by the Philippine authorities to leave the country by May 25, was given a 10-day extension by the country’s Justice Department on May 28.
 
However, Sister Fox said it was a “temporary victory.” 
 
Menardo Guevarra, the secretary for justice ordered the immigration bureau to comment on Sister Fox’s petition for review within the 10 day period.
 

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The process of justice and injustice

The Avila sex bar in Calapandayan, Subic town, Zambales, has been closed with a steel gate since the hand of justice came to that place when we rescued young girls from sex slavery and the domineering  power of the owner, 49-year-old Arthur David Benjamin, of the United States of America (US), on 6 February 2013.
 








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Priest still haunted by captivity

MARAWI (UCAN): A year after his abduction by terrorist gunmen, Father Teresito Soganub, the one time vicar-general of the Prelature of Marawi, Mindanao, is on a journey for forgiveness.
 
“I was a captive. I was not afraid to die, but I was afraid to suffer,” he said in what sounded like a confession only days before the first anniversary of his kidnapping during an attack on St. Mary’s Cathedral.
 
He was abducted along with several church workers on 23 May 2017, the first day of fighting.








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Philippines lifts Kuwait labour deployment ban

MANILA (UCAN): The Philippines lifted its ban on the deployment of workers to Kuwait following the signing of a deal on May 11 that provides additional protection for Filipinos in the Gulf state.
 
The president, Rodrigo Duterte, ordered the ban to be lifted on May 16, ending months of tension with Kuwait that resulted in the expulsion in April of the Philippine ambassador to the oil rich country.
 

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Aid groups unite to plug disaster response gaps

MANILA (UCAN): Caritas Philippines has joined forces with networks of non-government groups to address “financial gaps” in responding to disasters. Counted among the alliance aside from Caritas are the Caucus of Development non-government organsations (CODE-NGO) and the Humanitarian Response Consortium, the country’s biggest networks of NGOs.
 
Father Edwin Gariguez, the executive secretary of Caritas Philippines, said the aim of the alliance is “to strengthen and expand” the networks and resources of the various groups.

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Ouster of Philippine chief justice condemned

MANILA (Agencies): “We condemn in the strongest terms the desecration of our constitution and democratic institutions,” Father Edwin Gariguez, executive secretary of the social action secretariat of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines said in reaction to the country’s Supreme Court of the Philippines kicked out its chief justice in an unprecedented decision handed down on May 11.
 

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Seasonal and nominal Catholics in the Philippines

Father Amado Picardal CSsR
 
A study conducted a few years back showed that only 37 per cent of Filipino Catholics regularly attend Sunday Mass while only 29 per cent regard themselves as very religious. 
 
Some Church leaders think that it was not accurate because the number of Masses being celebrated apparently increased and attendance seemed to have grown.