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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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Cardinal’s questions for Duterte

DAVAO CITY (SE): Presidential hopeful, Rodrigo Duterte, was sent a please explain message from Orlando Cardinal Quevedo on February 12 after he failed to show up to explain his position to the Friends of Peace on the Bangsamoro Peace Process.

The administrator of Davao City, Jaime Quitain, tendered his apologies due to a migraine headache and Cardinal Quevedo sent him a message asking him to answer two questions during his presidential campaign, MindaNews reported.

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If you love the environment you better watch your back

DAVAO (UCAN): The Church is warning environmental advocates to watch their backs, as they have again become the target of the mining company goons in recent weeks. Father Edwin Gariquez said on February 2 that the worst of it is that the government is not doing anything to prevent the murders or bring those responsible to justice.

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What else dies with the peace process?

MARAWI (UCAN): Barely two years after the Philippine government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) signed a peace deal, the war-torn south of the nation continues to face the risk of massive displacement of people.

The failure of the House of Representatives to pass the Bangsamoro Basic Law has dashed the hopes of people who have experienced centuries of armed struggle in defence of their homeland.

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