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The Year of the Killing

MANILA (UCAN): In the run up to the second State of the Nation Address from the president of The Philippines, Rodrigo Duterte, pockets of the streets of the country were alive with rallies calling for an end to the rampant killing in his so-called drug war and an end to repressive state policies.
 
But one rally staged by teenage girls from St. Scholastica’s College in Manila hit the mark for originality, as they took to the streets to proclaim Duterte’s first year in power as The Year of the Killing.
 

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Yet another call of War never again!

MANILA (SE): Once more we have a war and once more we hear the cry of War, never again! this time from the bishops of The Philippines as they reflect on the siege in Marawi at their plenary gathering at the Pius XII Centre in Manila from July to 8 to 10.
 
This time their cry is, “War in Marawi, never again!” but as they go on to call for a return to normalcy, many people in the beleaguered island of Mindanao wonder whether war and violence that has been their way for decades has become the normal of the day.
 

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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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