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New houses for Yolanda survivors

MANILA (SE) Around 263 houses were turned over to families in Tacloban, Leyte, the Philppines, who were displaced by Super Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda), in 2013, CBCP News reported on February 13.
 
They were were among the first batch of recipients of permanent housing units at the Pope Francis Village, which is slated to house 566 survivor families.
 

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Lawmakers U-turn on death penalty for party drugs

Manila (UCAN): In a dramatic U-turn, members of the Philippines’ Lower House of Congress decided on February 4 to drop provisions in a bill that could reimpose the death penalty for people found possessing illegal drugs at parties and social gatherings.
 
“We decided to reconsider approval (of the bill) in order to clarify provisions that refer to the death penalty,” Fredenil Castro, majority leader of the House of Representatives, said.
 

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Former police chief asks forgiveness for drug war deaths

Manila (UCAN): “I am asking for forgiveness for all those killed in our war on drugs because it (bothers) my conscience,” Ronald dela Rosa, the retired chief of the Philippine National Police, said on February 6.
 
After his retirement in April last year, the one-time national police chief was named director-general of the Bureau of Corrections. He is now running for the Philippine Senate in the upcoming midterm elections in May.
 

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Peace consultant killed by gunmen

MANILA (UCAN): Randy Felix Malayao, 49, a consultant for the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP), was shot dead on January 30 sparking an outcry among rights and peace advocates.
 
Gunmen shot in the communist rebel peace consultant head while he was sleeping on a bus in Nueva Vizcaya province.
 
The NDFP is a coalition of groups involved in an ongoing communist insurgency in various parts of the country. It has long been engaged in peace negotiations with the Philippine government.
 

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New bishop of Cotabato installed amid security threats

COTABATO CITY (UCAN): Archbishop Angelito Lampon of the Oblates of Mary Immaculate succeeded Orlando Cardinal Quevedo as the head the Archdiocese of Cotabato, Mindanao, on January 30. 
 

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Two Filipino bishops pass away on same day

MANILA (Agencies): Bishop Dinualdo Gutierrez and Bishop Nicolas Mondejar, the former bishops of the dioceses of Marbel in South Cotabato, and San Carlos, Negros Occidental, the Philippines, died within hours of each other on February 1.
 
Bishop Gutierrez, who would have turned 80-years-old on February 20, died early in the morning had reportedly been suffering from prostate cancer and obstructive pulmonary disease.
 

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Bombing of Jolo cathedral roundly condemned

MANILA (UCAN): Philippine Church leaders condemned the bombing of the Cathedral of Our Lady of Mount Carmel in the town of Jolo, Sulu province, in the southern Philippines on January 27, which killed at least 20 people and injured about 100 others 
 
The Islamic State group claimed responsibility for the bombing, which occurred during Mass, and issued a statement claiming that two suicide bombers detonated explosive belts inside the church and near its entrance.
 

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Philippine bishops break silence on ‘disturbing issues’

MANILA (UCAN): The Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines broke what it described as a “collective silence” over “many disturbing issues” that have confronted the country in recent months.
 
In a pastoral statement issued at the end of their biennial meeting in Manila on January 28, the bishops asked forgiveness “for the length of time that it took us to find our collective voice.” 
 

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Relic of St. Camillus in the Philippines

MANILA (UCAN): The heart relic of St. Camillus de Lellis, patron of the sick, doctors, nurses, and health workers, is set to arrive in the Philippines on February 2 and remain in the country until the end of March.
 
Bishop Oscar Florencio, of the Episcopal Commission on Health Care of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines, called the visit a “grace from God.”
 
In October last year, thousands of Filipino Catholics welcomed the heart relic of St. Padre Pio of Pietrelcina.
 

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Philippine lawmakers backpedal on child criminal bill

MANILA (UCAN): Philippine lawmakers were forced to make a compromise in their attempt to lower the minimum age of criminal liability amid fierce opposition from the Catholic Church and child rights advocacy groups. They approved a bill to set criminal responsibility starting at 12 years old during its second reading on January 23.
 
Earlier, on January 19, Bishop Pablo Virgilio David of Kalookan, called the bill “un-Christian.”
 

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