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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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Former priest released

MANILA (AsiaNews): A former priest, Rolando del Tochio, who was kidnapped on October 6 last year from Ur Choice Café in Dipolog in the southern Philippines, was released on April 8.

Father Giovanni Re, from the Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions, said, “We are very happy for the release of Rolando del Torchio.”

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Why do the police kill the poor but spare the rich?

QUEZON CITY (SE): “It is very troubling that the police and the military are always being sent to harass, wound and kill the poor—whether they be farmers, lumads, urban poor or workers who protest and rally because they suffer and their rights are not being addressed,” Bishop Broderick Pabillo said in a formal condemnation of the violent dispersal of farmers who had rallied on a main road in Kidapawan City on April 1 to call attention to their plight in the drought affected region.

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Duterte uses pope’s reply to intrigue

VATICAN (CWN): The expletive babbling mayor of Davao City and presidential candidate, Rodrigo Duterte, sent an apology to Pope Francis for his unpublishable tirade against him for holding up traffic when he visited Manila in January last year.

And to his apparent delight, he has received a response from Archbishop Angelo Becciu, the under-secretary of state at the Vatican, which says the pope appreciates the sentiments of his apology.

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Appeal for pro-life vote

MANILA (SE): The Church in The Philippines has issued an all-out call to people to vote pro-life in the upcoming May 9 election.

In a strong letter dated March 31, the president of the bishops’ conference, Archbishop Socrates Villegas, says that it is a grave sin to vote for a candidate who opposes the Lord’s teachings on the sacredness of human life from conception to natural death.

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When they asked for food they got bullets

MANILA (SE): Jesus may have found it hard to believe that a father would give his son a scorpion when he asked for bread, but when a massed rally of around 6,000 farmers from a declared drought disaster zone blocked the 220 kilometre highway link between the provinces of Davao and Cotabato at Kidapawan City on March 30, to asked the government for food, it gave them bullets.

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