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Eco-danger

MANILA (UCAN): If people could be removed from The Philippines its natural environment would become a much more friendly place, as for several years now it has been the deadliest country in Asia and one of the most dangerous in the world for those who work to defend the land against human destruction.
 
A report titled Defenders of the Earth, released on July 14 by the London-based Global Witness, notes that at least 28 pro-environment advocates were killed in The Philippines during 2016.
 

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No to labelling Muslims

MANILA (UCAN): Human rights and religious groups have voiced opposition to a proposal from the Philippine National Police to issue identification cards to Muslims in The Philippines as a measure to root out extremists in the southern regions of the country.
 
Sister Famita Somogod, from the Rural Missionaries of The Philippines, called it discriminatory, adding that it highlights religion as being an issue in the current conflict that Mindanao is experiencing, which it is not.
 

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Violence in Mindanao headed for yet another nosedive

ZAMBOANGA (SE): “Why Marawi?” is a question that despite the widespread discussion on the siege which has been going on in the predominately Muslim city in Lanao del Sur on the southern Philippine island of Mindanao has remained an allusive one.
 
However, an Islamic-Christian community group based in Zamboanga, the Silsilah (an Arabic word meaning link) Dialogue Movement, says that it is a question that can no longer be ignored.
 

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Kicking ’em while they’re down in name of religion

MANILA (UCAN): The kick ‘em while they’re down adage is used to describe a lack of sportsmanship or unfair play.
 
When the former bishop of Davao discovered that some Christian groups are sneaking a bible into relief packages intended for Muslim people who have been displaced from their homes because of the current siege of Marawi, he described it as taking an unfair advantage of the misery of others in the name of religion.
 

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Pope promises to pray for Marawi

MANILA (SE): It was a long wait for the beleaguered people of The Philippines, but after a series of disasters and tragedies Pope Francis has finally expressed his solidarity with all those affected by the violence and assured the people of Mindanao of his prayers.
 
Pope Francis gave his message to Archbishop Martin Jumoad at the Pallium Mass on the Feast of Ss. Peter and Paul at the Vatican on June 29.
 

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Talk of Islamic State obscures the issue in Marawi

HONG KONG (SE): While martial law may provide a panacea for a conclusion to the siege that Marawi City in the southern Philippines has been under since May 23, it is not capable of predicting a timeframe for its cessation and is certainly not able to address the fundamental causes that inspired the violent occupation in the first place.
 

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Beaten by cardinal sin

BRISBANE (SE): Manny Pacquiao fell victim to the cardinal sin of disdain for his opposition at Lang Park’s Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane when he lost his welterweight world title to Australian challenger, Jeff Horn, on July 2.
 
Appearing bored at the pre-fight press conference on June 30, Pacquiao spent his time playing with two mobile telephones, barely even acknowledging the emcee as he introduced him as the greatest boxer ever to step into the ring.
 

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Children on the frontline of Philippine conflicts

MANILA (UCAN): The Philippines is home to one of the longest-standing conflicts in southeast Asia. The complex narratives of various insurgent groups fighting the government include the use of children as combatants.
 
The United Nations (UN) says the recruitment and use of children during conflict is a severe violation of human rights and is condemned by the Security Council. But in many parts of the world children play a direct part in combat.
 

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No dialogue with extremists bishop says

DAGUPAN (UCAN): Bishop Edwin de la Peña, from Marawi on the southern Philippine island of Mindanao, said that there is no way the Church can dialogue with extremists at a conference in the northern province of Pagasinan on June 29.
 

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Bishop rails against new Judases in drug war

MANILA (UCAN): Bishop Pablo Virgilio David, from Kalookan in Metro Manila, dared the Philippine authorities to unmask the anti-narcotics vigilantes they claim are behind the spate of killings of suspected drug pushers and users over the past 12 months.
 
Speaking on July 2 at a Mass for victims of drug-related killings, the bishop expressed disappointment over police failure to identify and arrest their murders.
 

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