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Bid to shut down Rappler sparks outrage

MANILA (UCAN): The move by the Philippines’ Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) on January 15 to revoke the license of online news agency, Rappler, has sparked suspicion and outrage among media and human rights groups in the country.
 
The agency has been highly critical of the government of president, Rodrigo Duterte, especially the deadly war on drugs.
 

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New bank for Philippine overseas workers

MANILA (UCAN): The Episcopal Commission on Migrants and Itinerant People of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines welcomed the establishment of the Overseas Filipino Bank.
 
In 2017, the Philippine president, Rodrigo Duterte, directed the state-owned Land Bank of the Philippines to acquire the Philippine Postal Bank and convert it to the Overseas Filipino Bank to cater to the needs of an estimated 10 million Filipinos working overseas.
 

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Rights groups protest court’s gagging of Veloso testimony

HONG KONG (SE): Rights groups said the blocking of Mary Jane Veloso’s deposition by the Court of Appeals in the Philippines only serves to let traffickers and drug lords off the hook.
 
Veloso was arrested in 2010 and sentenced to death for smuggling heroin into Indonesia. She was granted a temporary reprieve by the Indonesian president, Joko Widodo, hours before she was set to be executed on 29 April 2015, after her alleged recruiters Maria Cristina Sergio and Julius Lacanilao were arrested shortly beforehand. 
 

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Axe on taxpayer adds to misery

HONG KONG (SE): Migrant rights groups in Hong Kong and Macau have criticised the new taxation scheme of Philippine president, Rodrigo Duterte, saying it will cause inflation at home and increase their financial burdens, as they may need to remit even more money just to meet the needs of their families.
 

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Bishops back Kuwait ban and call for investigation

MANILA (Agencies): Bishop Ruperto Santos of Balanga, chairperson of the Episcopal Commission on Migrants and Itinerant People of the the Philippine bishops’ conference, has backed a move by the president, Rodrigo Duterte, to ban the sending of Filipino migrant workers to Kuwait, UCAN reported on January 22.
 
Apart from stopping workers going to Kuwait, the bishop also called on the government investigate abuses committed in other countries
 

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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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