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Setting a green example

MANILA (UCAN): According to Bishop Ruperto Santos of Balanga, in Bataan province, north of the Philippine capital, Manila, the diocese is going green to be more “earth-friendly.”
 
He said that said part of the efforts to care for the environment includes stopping the use of plastic flowers and plastic tarpaulins to decorate churches.
 
“In our cathedral we go green,” the bishop said, adding that parishes are encouraged to use real plants and flowers as decor.
 

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Growing opposition against Philippine dam project

INFANTA (UCAN): Civil society and advocacy groups launched a campaign against construction of the proposed Kaliwa River Dam, south of Philippine capital Manila. 
 
The Stop Kaliwa Dam Network aims to collect 10 million signatures calling for a halt to the project that critics maintain threatens the welfare of tribal communities in Quezon province.
 

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United Nations to probe drug war killings and human rights violations

MANILA (UCAN): The United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) voted on July 11 to set up an investigation into killings in the Philippines that have been linked to the government’s war on drugs.
 
The resolution filed by Iceland, was adopted by a vote of 18 countries in favor and 14 against, including China, with 15 abstentions, including Japan.
 
It calls on the UN human rights office to present a comprehensive report on human rights in the Philippines to the council next June.
 

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Philippine authorities order closure of tribal schools

MANILA (UCAN): Education officials in the Philippines ordered the closure of 55 schools catering to the Lumad indigenous in Davao, Mindanao, for allegedly teaching “left-leaning ideologies.”
 
In a June 12 order, the schools, run by the nonprofit Salugpongan Ta’ Tanu Igkanogon Community Learning Center Inc., were denied permits to operate for the upcoming 2019-20 school year.
 
The suspension was issued upon a recommendation made by national security adviser, Hermogenes Esperon, a retired general.

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Protection for rights and Church groups rejected

MANILA (UCAN): Church and human rights groups in the Philippines condemned a ruling by the Court of Appeals rejecting a petition seeking legal protection from military harassment.
 
The petition calling for writs of amparo (protection) and habeas data (access to information) came from the Rural Missionaries of the Philippines (RMP), human rights group, Karapatan, and the women’s organisation, Gabriela.
 

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Philippine bishops tackle green issues at plenary

MANILA (UCAN): The Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) took up issues relating to care of the environment during its bi-annual plenary meeting at the Pope Pius XII Catholic Centre from July 6 to 8.
 
“The environment is a big issue that’s why we need to also look at it,” Father Marvin Mejia, secretary-general of the bishops’ conference, explained.
 

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Haiyan recovery efforts in the Philippines a disaster

Ronald Reyes 
 
Thirty-seven-year-old Sarah Dela Peña survived the onslaught of Super Typhoon Haiyan in the central Philippines. Today, she still lives by the sea where thousands of people perished in 2013.
 
She said a relocation site offered by the government to survivors “is equally dangerous and far from our livelihoods.”
 

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Philippine bishop wants laypeople to administer dioceses

MANILA (UCAN): Bishop Francisco de Leon of Antipolo, the Philippines, wants to allow laypeople or nuns to administer dioceses instead of priests.
 
He made the proposal when he met with Pope Francis during an ad limina visit by Philippine bishops to Rome in May.
 
“I think and I feel that it’s high time for us bishops to leave the administration of the diocese to competent laity or religious persons,” the bishop said.
 

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Philippine Church leaders decry return of death penalty

MANILA (UCAN): Church leaders in the Philippines have warned against any moves to pass a law that will revive the imposition of capital punishment. The Episcopal Commission on Prison Pastoral Care issued a statement on June 20 reminding newly elected legislators of their responsibility “to defend human life.”
 
Moves to revive the death penalty failed in the last Congress, but Church leaders said recent statements made by new legislators on the re-imposition of the death penalty were disturbing.
 

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Dam casts shadow of uncertainty in the Philippine mountains

A waxing moon floated in the night sky, giving light to a small group of people huddled outside a hut in a hamlet somewhere in the hinterlands of Luzon Island in the Philippines.
There was excited talk between sips of coffee. A baby was about to be born and the comadrona, or midwife, had just arrived.
 
The sleepy hamlet of Pangotlaon is one of several small settlements that make up the village of Magsaysay in the town of Nakar in Quezon province.