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Philippine bishops May Day calls for workers’ rights

Manila (UCAN): “First, create jobs so that(people) will never be forced to find work in foreign lands and be separated from their families,” Bishop Ruperto Santos, head of the Episcopal Commission on Migrants and Itinerant People, said. On May 1 as thousands of people Filipinos marched in protests along the streets of Manila on Labour Day.
 
Several Catholic bishops lent their voices to calls for decent jobs and employment security for workers, saying these were the best gifts the Philippine government could give to its people.

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Philippines kicks off National Youth Day celebration

MANILA (UCAN/CBCPNews): At least 15,000 young Catholics attended the first day of this year’s National Youth Day celebrations held from April 23 to 28 in the central Philippine province of Cebu.
 
Delegates were welcomed on April 24 at the Cebu City Sports Complex, by Archbishop Jose Palma of Cebu, who arrived at the venue astride a big motorcycle. He told them that to “trust in the memory of God and his memory is not the hard disk that saves and archives all our data.” 
 

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Another rights advocate murdered in the Phlippines

MANILA (UCAN): “In sadness, we all are crying out: End the killings! These barbaric and calculated assassinations must end! We should not tolerate this kind of crime,” Bishop Gerardo Alminaza of San Carlos, said in the wake of the killing of Bernardino Patigas Sr., a 72-year-old human rights worker.
 
Patigas was shot dead by a lone gunman in Negros Oriental province on April 22, three weeks after masked policemen gunned down 14 farmers in the same province (Sunday Examiner, April 7).
 

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Heritage churches closed following Philippine earthquake

MANILA (UCAN): Several old churches in the province of Pampanga have been closed after a 6.1-magnitude earthquake shook the island of Luzon, the Philippines, on April 22.
 
At least 11 people have been reported killed while 24 others were missing, most of whom were residents of the town of Porac.
 
The Archdiocesan Committee on Church Heritage in San Fernando, about 80 kilometres north of the capital, Manila, announced that all heritage churches were closed to the public.
 

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Philippine Catholic groups castigate review by Canadian agency

MONTREAL (CNS): In an April 3 letter sent by email to Bishop Lionel Gendron, president of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB), and Evelyne Beaudoin, president of the national council for Development and Peace (D&P), the Caritas affiliate, prominent leaders of the Catholic Church in the Philippines and civil organizations criticised a moratorium on at least four Philippine associations suspected of “violating the social teachings of the Church.”
 

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Filipinos in Libya urged to return home

MANILA (UCAN): Bishop Ruperto Santos of Balanga, the head of the Episcopal Commission on Migrants and Itinerant People of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines, appealed to Filipinos in Libya to return home as fears of renewed civil war intensify.
 
The bishop said the situation in Libya is “uncertain, volatile and unstable” and the safety of Filipino migrants there “is not secure.”
 

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Relic of St. John Paul II draws young Filipinos

TACLOBAN (UCAN): A blood relic of the Pope St. John Paul II, has been attracting young people in the Archdiocese of Palo, Letye, the Philippines.
 
The relic has been touring the country as part of preparations for the 500th anniversary celebration of the arrival of Christianity in the Philippines in 2021.
 
“It’s a heartwarming experience seeing the relic for the first time,” said Abbie Montablan, a 21-year-old seminarian in the provincial capital of Tacloban.
 

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Ateneo de Manila red-faced over Marcos invite

MANILA (UCAN): Jesuit Father Jose Ramon Villarin, president of Ateneo de Manila University, issued a public apology for what he described as the “hurt” the presence of Irene Marcos-Araneta at the launch of an art installation at the university on April 4 brought to victims of human rights abuses committed during the rule of her father the late president and dictator, Ferdinand Marcos.
 

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Duterte threatens to arrest all his critics

MANILA (UCAN): “I will arrest all of you. I will put you together with the criminals, rebels, and drug lords,” Philippine president, Rodrigo Duterte ranted at a gathering of prosecutors on April 4.
 
“If you make it hard for me, I will declare a revolutionary war until the end of my term,” said Duterte, adding that he was willing to be hanged. “I’m willing to die,” he said.
 

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Top Philippine court orders release of drug war death files

MANILA (UCAN): On April 2 the Philippine Supreme Court ordered the Office of the Solicitor-General to provide police reports to two human rights groups seeking the release of documents related to the killings of thousands of suspected drug users and dealers over the past three years.
 
The Free Legal Assistance Group and the Centre for International Law, which had requested the documentation on cases they were handling, welcomed the court order.
 

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