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Will May 9 vote get off the ground?

MANILA (SE): The Supreme Court of The Philippines ruled on March 10 that voters at the May 9 presidential election must be issued with a computer generated receipt upon casting their ballot.

The Commission on Elections (Comelec) has flaunted this requirement of law in the previous two elections, even claiming that the issuing of a receipt could contribute to the age-old Philippine practice of vote buying and selling.

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There are the Rape of Nanking deniers and Bongbong Marcos

MANILA (SE): There are those who deny that the world is round and they are usually laughed out of town, but on a more serious level there are those who deny that the Rape of Nanking, which saw the mass extinction of hundreds and thousands of Chinese people, ever happened and their denial is regarded as willfully pernicious.

But maybe the greater tragedy is that there are also those who take them seriously.

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Women’s Day highlights all round raw deal

MANILA (UCAN): The desperation of unemployment and the modern form of worker exploitation—replacing regular employment with short-term contracts—or what has been dubbed contractualisation in The Philippines, was the main theme of Women’s Day on March 8, as thousands took to the streets demanding regular jobs and decent wages.

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Safety first or vote rigging?

MANILA (UCAN): A lot of suspicion surrounds a decision by the Commission on Elections (Comelec) not to issue a receipt to people when they vote at the coming May 9 presidential elections.

It is a requirement of the electoral procedure to issue a receipt upon voting, which the Comelec has ignored for the past two elections.

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Saudis shot in Zamboanga

ZAMBOANGA (UCAN): A visiting Muslim cleric and a diplomat from Saudi Arabia were shot and wounded in the southern city of Zamboanga on March 1.

Police identified the victims as Ayed Al-Qarni, an international lecturer and author of Islamic books, and Sheikh Turki Assaegh, the religious attaché at the Saudi Arabian embassy in Manila.

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No surprise at peace deal rejection

MANILA (AsiaNews): The leaders of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front in Mindanao have asked their men to maintain the ceasefire with the government and to honour the peace treaty, even after the law that they fought for years was rejected when the congress failed to approve the Bangsamoro Basic Law that would make the Muslim-majority areas of Mindanao a region with special status.

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Migrant workers top missionaries

BALANGA (AsiaNews): The government of the Emirate of Kuwait has granted a partial amnesty to the approximately 6,000 undocumented Filipinos in its territory and given them an opportunity to legalise their status.

Bishop Ruperto Santos, from the Commission for Migrants and Itinerant People, described the decision in a statement on March 1 as a humane gesture.

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While some danced to remember maybe more danced to forget

MANILA (SE): The Filipino malaise of the Great Forgetting got a jolt this year with a much bigger than usual attendance at the ceremonies marking the anniversary of People Power on February 25, but it may not translate into the Great Remembering.

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Bishops’ policy on sex abuse

MANILA (SE): The bishops of The Philippines have assured the public of their cooperation with civil authorities on cases of sexual abuse by priests.

In a pastoral letter entitled Pastoral Exhortation on the Pastoral Care and Protection of Minors, published on February 6, they said they are determined to make sure the Church is always a safe environment for all people, especially children.

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Church refuge torched in Mindanao

MANILA (UCAN): At least five people, including two children, were hurt after unidentified men torched a Church-run evacuation centre in the southern Philippine city of Davao early on February 24.

“At least three men poured gasoline on the tent before lighting it,” Piya Macliing Malayao, the secretary-general of the tribal group, Katribu, said.

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