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Politicans rapped for amending term limits

MANILA (UCAN): Circumventing the limits to terms of office established by the constitution “would be a grave moral wrong and a tremendous injustice,” Archbishop Socrates Villegas of Lingayen-Dagupan said in a pastoral statement in mid-January in which he protested the decision of the Philippine Congress to amend the constitution to extend the terms of office of elected officials.
 

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Informal efforts to revive stalled peace talks

MANILA (UCAN): Church leaders in the Philippines welcomed the news of informal talks between the government and communist rebels, looking at ways to revive stalled peace negotiations which the president, Rodrigo Duterte, terminated on 23 November 2017.
 
He accused the rebels of failing to show “sincerity and commitment to pursuing genuine and meaningful negotiations.”
 

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Huge crowds at Black Nazarene procession

MANILA (UCAN): The Black Nazarene procession in Manila, The Philippines, on January 10 saw an estimated six million barefoot devotees participate in the frenzied devotional. 
 

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Bishop visits ravaged Marawi and cathedral

MARAWI (UCAN): After several failed attempts, Bishop Edwin de la Peña from Marawi, was able to enter the ruined centre of the city, ravaged by five months of conflict, and visit the remnants of the cathedral together with representatives of the group Aid to the Church in Need on January 11.
 

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Not a clash but a massacre

KORONADAL (UCAN): An independent investigation conducted by the Philippine Church and human rights groups concluded that eight tribal people, who allegedly died in an armed clash with Philippine troops in Mindanao on December 3, were actually massacred.
 
In its report, the investigating team rejected claims by the military that the eight victims were communist guerrillas. The massacre occurred near Lake Sebu town in South Cotabato.
 

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Philippine police re-launch drug war

Manila (UCAN): Church leaders in the Philippines warned of more killings after the national police announced the re-launching the government’s controversial anti-narcotics war.
 
Human rights groups say that the deadly drug war of the president, Rodrigo Duterte, has claimed the lives of at least 13,000 people since it began in 2016.
 

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Marawi siege leaves lifelong scars

COTABATO (UCAN): The deadly five-month conflict in the southern Philippine city of Marawi, Mindanao, in 2017 not only left the city destroyed, but also scarred the survivors, leaving them with nightmares that will likely haunt them for the rest of their lives.
 
The scenic lakeside city was jolted by gunfire on 23 May 2017 when Islamic State-inspired gunmen attacked, resulting in an exodus of about 400,000 people from their homes.
 

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Philippine soldiers charged with priest’s murder

MANILA (UCAN): The Philippines’ Department of Justice has ordered the filing of charges against two ranking military personnel and several members of a militia group for the 2011 murder of Father Fausto Tentorio Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions (PIME) in Mindanao (Sunday Examiner, 30 October 2011).
 
The Italian priest, who had dedicated himself to the literacy and development of the Lumad people since 1978, was shot dead inside his church compound in Arakan in the hinterlands of North Cotabato on 17 October 2011.

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Record numbers at Baclaran church

MANILA (UCAN): A record number of people attended this year’s first Wednesday Mass at the National Shrine of Our Mother of Perpetual Help in Manila, The Philippines.
 
Redemptorist Father Carlos Ronquillo, the rector of the shrine—known colloquially as Baclaran church, said that around 300,000 people attended the January 3 Mass, exceeding the previous year’s 230,000.
 

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Feast day a national holiday

MANILA (AsiaNews): The feast day of the major patron of The Philippines, the Immaculate Conception of Mary, has been declared a national holiday by the president, Rodrigo Duterte, and was signed into law by the majority leader of the house of representatives, Rodolfo Fariñas, on December 29.
 

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