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Catholic schools push for the Bangsamoro

MANILA (UCAN): Just eight days before the national congress adjourned, Catholic educational institutions joined in the call for the immediate passage of Bangsamoro Basic Law that will create an autonomous Muslim region in Mindanao, known as the Bangsamoro in Mindanao.

If congress fails to pass the law many observers fear a peace deal with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, which has been fighting for autonomy for four decades, could break down. 

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A red rag to a bull

MANILA (UCAN): The Promotion of Church People’s Response, a national alliance of Church-based organisations in The Philippines, is protesting against a court decision declaring a military agreement that allows an increased presence of United States of America (US) military personnel in the country constitutionally valid.

“We are saddened by the court decision,” Nardy Sabino, a spokesperson for the group, said.

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Mission must include the wisdom of a vision for the future

CEBU (SE): The 51st Eucharistic Congress formally opened in Cebu, The Philippines, on January 24 with an outdoor Mass celebrated by the special envoy from Pope Francis, Charles Maung Cardinal Bo, from Yangon in the Union of Myanmar, at the Plaza Independencia.

In introducing the congress, Cardinal Bo said that holding it in Asia is significant, as the continent is home to a confluence of major religions and a part of the world that has not embraced secularism.

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Tight security for Eucharistic Congress

CEBU (UCAN): Organisers of the International Eucharistic Congress scheduled to begin on January 24 in Cebu, The Philippines, have assured delegates that security will be tight following the terror attacks in Jakarta that killed at least seven people on January 14.

“While we commiserate with the victims of the bombing, the incident provides even more impetus for us and our security agencies to be vigilant,” Bishop Dennis Villarojo, the secretary general of the organising committee, said.

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Bloodletting goes on

MANILA (UCAN): Alibando Tingkas, a 15-year-old from the Manobo people, was shot dead in the southern Philippine province of Davao del Norte on January 17.

Tingkas becomes the latest victim in a spate of murders of indigenous people in the southern region of Mindanao in recent months.

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De-Europeanising the universal Church

Missionaries, migrants, international businesspeople, diplomats and refugees all find the experience of moving from one culture to another changes them.

They remain themselves, but find that they are themselves in ways they may have never imagined possible.

A Korean who lives in France does not become French, but learns new things about being Korean, previously unsuspected potentialities of Korean-ness. 

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A scandal of nothing amidst plenty

MANILA (UCAN): The poor amidst plenty syndrome of The Philippines is a national disgrace for a country which prides itself in being Catholic.

The problem is especially amplified during Christmas, a time of year marked with feasting and professing faith in the God of the poor.

The desperate poverty incidence among Filipinos now sits at more than 25 per cent of the population, despite the promise of the government to bring it down to 18 per cent by this year.

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Pope Francis stamp a best seller

MANILA (Agencies): The postage stamps minted for the occasion of the visit of Pope Francis to The Philippines have proven to be the biggest seller in recent years.

The former postmaster general, Josefina Dela Cruz, said the stamps, featuring images of the Argentine pope, enjoyed record sales and far outsold other commemorative stamps of recent times.

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Pope condemns killings in Southern Philippines

MANILA (Agencies): Pope Francis has decried the Christmas Eve attacks in Southern Philippines by the outlawed Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters killed (BIFF) in which at least seven farmers and two other civilians were killed. 

Pope Francis said he was saddened by the attacks and asked all believers “to reject violence in the name of God”.

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Use blood money to help family bishop urges

MANILA (Agencies): Bishop Ruperto Santos from Balanga, has urged the government to use the blood money raised for overseas Filipino worker, Joselito Zapanta, to help his family which has been left without a breadwinner following his execution in Saudi Arabia on December 29. Zapanta was sentenced to death by the Grand Court in Riyadh in April 2010 for killing his Sudanese landlord.

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