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Mayor goes one expletive too far

DAVAO (SE): Archbishop Socrates Villegas said that the gun-slinging mayor of Davao City and currently presidential candidate, Rodrigo Duterte, went one expletive too far when he cursed the figure of Pope Francis during a November 30 rant over traffic congestion during the pope’s visit to The Philippines in January this year.

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Aquino meets pope

VATICAN (SE) : The president of The Philippines, Noynoy Aquino, met in private audience with Pope Francis at the Vatican on December 4 for what diplomatic protocol described as a cordial discussion.

Subsequent to the meeting with the pope, Aquino then had discussions with the Vatican secretary of state, Pietro Cardinal Parolin, who was accompanied by the undersecretary for relations with states, Monsignor Antoine Camilleri, where talk centred on the peace process in Mindanao.

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War and peace on the high seas

MANILA (AsiaNews): The sidelines of the November 18 to 19 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) held in Manila, The Philippines, was a busy place, with negotiations on war and peace on the high seas a big part of the unofficial agenda.

The president of the host nation, Noynoy Aquino, was busy lobbying Japan for support ships to patrol the waters of the West Philippine Sea, which China refers to as the South China Sea.

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A bishop in tough times dies

MANILA (Agencies): Bishop Federico Escaler, the first bishop of Kidapawan in Cotabato province, died in the early hours of the morning of November 28 at the age of 93.

A Jesuit, Bishop Escaler was a bishop during tough times, as Kidapawan was a hotbed of violence and conflict in 1976 when the diocese was set up. He moved from there to Ipil in Zamboanga Sibugay in 1980, which has always been an unstable place.

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Stretching the hospitality tag

MANILA (Agencies): While Filipinos maybe world-renowned for their hospitality, Father Rex Reyes, from the National Council of Churches of The Philippines, believes that turning their lives upside down so that a group of world leaders can have more fun in the country while making economic policies that exclude the bulk of the population is stretching matters a bit too far.

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More indigenous murdered by paramilitaries

HONG KONG (SE): At 12 noon on September 28, the 44-year-old driver of a passenger motorcycle, Lito Abion, was shot dead by two unknown gunmen while waiting for passengers at the rank near Purok Two bus terminal at Dona Flavia, San Luis, Agusan del Sur in the southern Philippines.

Citing documentation from the Higala sa Lumad Network, the Hong Kong-based Asian Human Rights Commission reports that a red Honda XRM motorcycle carrying two men was parked nearby.

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Twisting a life-giving law to justify murder

MANILA (UCAN): On November 11, the archbishop of Manila, Luis Cardinal Tagle, made his widely publicised visit to displaced tribal people from Mindanao and called for an end to the military occupation of their schools and communities.

On the very same day, a commander from a military-backed paramilitary militia defended the execution of the principal of an indigenous children’s school before the congress.

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Maguindanao Massacre is tragedy upon tragedy

MANILA (UCAN): “Let’s continue our advocacy for justice and peace,” Bishop Martin Jumoad said on November 23 as The Philippines marked the sixth anniversary of the Maguindanao Massacre, in which 58 people, including 32 journalists, died.

“Let’s not sit down... instead push so that truth will prevail,” the bishop continued.

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Prayer for China-Philippine standoff

MANILA (SE): Thousands of students across the Philippine island province of Palawan held a day of prayer on December 2 for the peaceful resolution of disputes in what Manila calls the West Philippine Sea.

Palawan is the part of The Philippines closest to the area under dispute, which lies within the bounds of its territorial waters.

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Where have all the bodies gone?

TACLOBAN (UCAN): The search for the missing victims of Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda), which hit the Central Visayas in The Philippines on 8 November 2013, is still going on, two years after official figures show that approximately a little over 6,000 people died and some 2,500 may be considered to be missing.

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