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Philippine priest heading to Kuwait to assist migrants

MANILA (UCAN): Church leaders in the Philippines announced on April 25 that they would be sending Father Restituto Ogsimer, of the Missionaries of St. Charles Borromeo (Scalabrinians), to help offer pastoral care to migrant Filipino workers. 
 
This happened on the same day that the Kuwaiti Foreign Ministry giving Philippine ambassador, Renato Villa, a week to leave the country on April 25 after a video came out on social media of embassy staff helping Filipino maids flee the homes of their employers. Kuwait also recalled its ambassador to Manila.

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Voter worries ahead of Philippine polls

MANILA (UCAN): The Parish Pastoral Council of Responsible Voting, a Church-based poll watchdog in the Philippines, is pressing for intensified education of voters ahead of village (barangay) and youth council election on May 14 in which old-fashioned manual balloting will be used.
 
The council made the call following the outcome of a rehearsal in mid-April, where the Commission on Elections reported that voters had mixed up ballots.
 

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Church workers told to quit if they run in elections

MANILA (UCAN): Any Church worker or Church organisation official running for office in Philippine local village and youth elections on May 14 will be considered as having resigned from their post, Bishop Honesto Ongtioco of Cubao, Metro Manila, has warned.
 
In a pastoral letter issued in the third week of April, the bishop said that in order to prevent allegations of undue advantage or perceptions that the institution will be used for partisan activities, Church workers or officials need to give up their posts.
 

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Australian sister released after visa row

MANILA (Agencies): Sister Patricia Fox, the superior of the Sisters of Our Lady of Sion in the Philippines, was released on April 17, a day after she was detained by the Bureau of Immigration for allegedly violating the conditions of her stay in the country, UCAN reported on April 18.
 
The 71-year-old Australian missionary, who has been working in the Philippines for the past 27 years, was let go after  her lawyers presented her passport and other immigration documents showing she had a valid missionary visa.
 

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Filipino Muslim rights advocate denied entry to United States

CAGAYAN de ORO (UCAN):  Jerome Aladdin Succor Aba, a Filipino Muslim advocate, was denied entry into the United States of America (US) on April 17 and was believed to be in the holding facility at San Francisco International Airport, the Mindanao-based Sandugo-Movement of Moro and Indigenous Peoples for Self-Determination reported.
 
It is believed that Aba, chairperson of the group Suara Bangsamoro, was detained by American immigration officials over “visa problems.”
 

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Philippine irrigation project a threat to thousands of tribal people

BAGUIO (UCAN): Tribal communities in the northern Philippines are threatened by a government-sponsored China-funded irrigation project on ancestral lands, tribal leaders claim.
 
On April 10, Philippine president, Rodrigo Duterte, said he was able to secure a loan agreement with China to fund the building of an irrigation project in the mountainous Cordillera region.
 

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Duterte’s apology too late

HONG KONG (SE): The president of the Philippines, Rodrigo Duterte, who was in Hong Kong for the second time in 10 months, apologised to the Chinese people on April 12 for the Manila bus hijack hostage tragedy in 2010 in which eight Hong Kong tourists were killed during the botched rescue attempt. 
 

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Marawi Cathedral to be demolished

MANILA (UCAN): The 84-year-old St. Mary’s Cathedral in Marawi, Mindanao, will soon fall to the wrecking ball to pave the way for the rebuilding of the war-torn city.
 
Authorities said the cathedral and the bishop’s residence are no longer structurally sound because of bomb explosions, air strikes and exchanges of gunfire during the conflict.
 
Terrorist gunmen set the cathedral on fire on 23 May 2017 and took Father Teresito Suganob, the vicar general, along with several church workers and worshipers hostage.

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Netflix series glosses over Philippine drug war advocates say

MANILA (UCAN): “We call on Netflix to stop giving an audience to a show that aims to justify extrajudicial killings,” read a statement issued by a group of rights advocates, lawyers, and activists. 
 
They were demanding that the online entertainment giant stop streaming Amo (boss), an action series tackling the controversial and bloody war on drugs being waged by the government of Philippine president, Rodrigo Duterte.
 

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Philippine chief justice stands up to Duterte

MANILA (UCAN): “We are not destined for slavery but to freedom. What is evil, we denounce; what is good, we affirm,” Maria Lourdes Sereno, the chief justice of the Philippines said amid moves to impeach her from the Supreme Court. 
 
She accused the country’s president, Rodrigo Duterte, of orchestrating her ouster and preventing her from testifying in an impeachment trial.
 

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