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Release the drought relief funds now

MANILA (Agencies): Three weeks on from the massacre in Kidapawan City of hungry farmers calling for government drought aid to be released by local authorities in Mindanao, Father Edwin Gariguez complained that nothing has been done, even though the national government has already made it available for distribution.








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A shameful event in Philippine history

Is it too hard to understand the saying that the one and only rational response to hunger is food? Reason and logic—even morals and ethics—can be well be irrelevant to hungry people.

Hunger and despair go hand in hand, especially for helpless and hopeless people. And to respond to such people with unbridled anger and deadly force makes the perpetrators not simply callous and merciless, but also downright inhuman, if not emotionally impaired or mentally burdened.








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Filipino farmers demand government funds

MANILA (UCAN): Some 200 farmers arrived in Manila on April 19 after walking the 135 kilometres from Quezon province to make a special appeal to the government to release the billions of pesos collected by the more than three-decades-old Coco Levy Fund.

The tax was introduced during the dictatorship of former president, Ferdinand Marcos, in the 1970s, purportedly to support the development of the coconut industry, a major export crop of The Philippines.

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Christine Jacob goes out of the Church then back again

MUNTINLUPA (Agencies): Like many in the showbiz world, Christine Jacob has dabbled in a few religions in her time.

“It was a very, very tough time in my life,” she noted, especially in the days she was on noontime TV almost daily.

Though a cradle Catholic, the former Olympic swimmer and show host joined born-again fellowships with her celebrity friends in a desire to have what she called a personal relationship with Jesus.








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Church building turns professional

MANILA (Agencies): The archbishop of Manila announced on April 12 that any major building or renovation programme with a cost estimate in excess of 200,000 pesos ($33,400) will now come under the competence of a newly established engineering authority.

In a letter to pastors, school directors and institutional heads, Luis Cardinal Tagle said that this will assist the archdiocese in the construction or renovation of Church facilities.

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Mercy does not have to wait for guidelines

MANILA (UCAN): “Mercy cannot wait. Mercy should not wait,” the Philippine bishops said in response to the exhortation of Pope Francis, The Joy of Love (Amoris Laetitia), released at the Vatican on April 8.

In a pastoral letter issued on April 10, the bishops said that even before they can come up with concrete guidelines on the implementation of the exhortation, everybody must open welcoming arms to those who have kept themselves out of the Church.

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Military massacred by the Abu Sayyaf

MANILA (UCAN): The deaths of 18 soldiers, who perished during a showdown with the Islamist group, the Abu Sayyaf, on April 9 in the southern Philippine island of Basilan, angered Bishop Martin Jumoad.

“I am really depressed and angry at why our soldiers are killed like chickens at the hands of the Abu Sayyaf,” the bishop of Basilan said. “What is happening to our government?”

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It is time to pray for rain

MANILA (UCAN): “There will be rain,” the bishops of The Philippines said in assuring farmers who have been suffering from an ongoing dry spell that has affected thousands of farmlands across the country.

“Have faith in the power of prayer,” Archbishop Socrates Villegas, the president of the bishops’ conference, encouraged.

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The high price of relief rice

KIDAPAWAN (UCAN): There may be a drought in Mindanao, but that hardly justifies the high price that a group of farmers had to pay for their relief rice—three lives, 116 injuries and around 89 disappearances.

On April 1, as around 6,000 farmers blocked the main highway between Cotabato and Davao in Kidapawan City demanding that the local government release aid allocated by the national government in Manila, the police opened fire and began rounding up the farmers and locking them up.

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Vote for migrant-friendly candidates

MANILA (UCAN): Bishop Ruperto Santos is encouraging Filipinos abroad to vote for candidates who promote the welfare of migrants, as the absentee voting for this year’s presidential election got underway on April 9.

More than a million Filipinos—1,326,728 land-based and 49,339 sea-based—have registered for the overseas absentee vote in this year’s election.

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