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Filipino workers complain of continuing rights abuses

MANILA (UCAN): Workers in the Philippines are complaining of continuing rights abuses even as the country’s economy grew by 6.8 per cent in the first quarter of the year.
 
A study conducted by the non-government Centre for Trade Union and Human Rights recorded at least 345 rights violations, including 28 killings of workers in the past two years.
 
The same study also cited complaints involving at least 9,919 workers whose rights to organise and be part of a trade union were reportedly not recognised.

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Cardinal Tagle ramps up protest against Philippine killings

MANILA (UCAN): Church bells in the Archdiocese of Manila will toll at eight o’clock every evening to protest the continuing spate of killings in the Philippines.
 
Luis Cardinal Tagle, archbishop of Manila ramped up his condemnation of the killings following the shooting of Father Mark Ventura in the Archdiocese of Tuguegarao on April 29, and a broadcast journalist, Edmund Sestoso, in Dumaguete, in the province of Negros Oriental, only a day later.
 

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Philippine government cannot define scope of missionary work

MANILA (UCAN): The Philippine government has “no right to define and delimit the scope of our missionary and apostolate works,” said Australian Sister Patricia Fox, from the Sister of Our Lady of Sion, whose missionary visa was revoked by the Philippine government last month (Sunday Examiner, May 6). 
 
The 71-year-old Sister Fox, who has lived and worked in the Philippines for 27 years as a missionary, hit back at allegations against her by the Bureau of Immigration in a 25-page affidavit.
 

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Philippine government accused of trying to silence the Church

QUEZON CITY (SE): Philippine religious leaders have warned that the Philippine government is trying to silence Church people who are critical of the administration the president, Rodrigo Duterte, according to a report from UCAN.
 
Speaking before a media briefing on April 26, Redemptorist Father Oliver Castor, said the government has been trying “to stop the Church’s work with the poor.”
 

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Marawi Mosque reopens in time for Ramadan

MARAWI (UCAN): The Saduc-Guimba Grand Mosque in the village of Saduc, in war-ravaged Marawi, has re-opened in time for the start of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan on May 15, almost a year after terrorist gunmen attacked the predominantly Muslim city in Mindanao, the Philippines.
 
The Philippine military earlier declared the area where the mosque is located, cleared of explosives that might have been left during the five months of fighting.
 

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Priest shot dead in northern Philippines

MANILA (UCAN): Father Mark Anthony Yuaga Ventura was shot dead after celebrating Mass in the northern Philippine town of Gattaran in Cagayan province on April 29, the second priest to be killed in four months.
 
The priest was blessing the children who had attended the Mass and talking to members of the choir when a man in motorcycle helmet approached a shot him twice.
 
Police said the 37-year-old Father Ventura was shot twice, sustaining gunshot wounds to the head and chest, and died at the scene. 
 

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Philippine priest heading to Kuwait to assist migrants

MANILA (UCAN): Church leaders in the Philippines announced on April 25 that they would be sending Father Restituto Ogsimer, of the Missionaries of St. Charles Borromeo (Scalabrinians), to help offer pastoral care to migrant Filipino workers. 
 
This happened on the same day that the Kuwaiti Foreign Ministry giving Philippine ambassador, Renato Villa, a week to leave the country on April 25 after a video came out on social media of embassy staff helping Filipino maids flee the homes of their employers. Kuwait also recalled its ambassador to Manila.

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Voter worries ahead of Philippine polls

MANILA (UCAN): The Parish Pastoral Council of Responsible Voting, a Church-based poll watchdog in the Philippines, is pressing for intensified education of voters ahead of village (barangay) and youth council election on May 14 in which old-fashioned manual balloting will be used.
 
The council made the call following the outcome of a rehearsal in mid-April, where the Commission on Elections reported that voters had mixed up ballots.
 

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Church workers told to quit if they run in elections

MANILA (UCAN): Any Church worker or Church organisation official running for office in Philippine local village and youth elections on May 14 will be considered as having resigned from their post, Bishop Honesto Ongtioco of Cubao, Metro Manila, has warned.
 
In a pastoral letter issued in the third week of April, the bishop said that in order to prevent allegations of undue advantage or perceptions that the institution will be used for partisan activities, Church workers or officials need to give up their posts.
 

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Australian sister released after visa row

MANILA (Agencies): Sister Patricia Fox, the superior of the Sisters of Our Lady of Sion in the Philippines, was released on April 17, a day after she was detained by the Bureau of Immigration for allegedly violating the conditions of her stay in the country, UCAN reported on April 18.
 
The 71-year-old Australian missionary, who has been working in the Philippines for the past 27 years, was let go after  her lawyers presented her passport and other immigration documents showing she had a valid missionary visa.
 

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