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Beware martial law

MANILA (SE): “Let us continue to maintain safeguards against dictatorial martial law that our present constitution contains,” the president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of The Philippines, Archbishop Socrates Villegas, said at the completion of the bishops’ plenary meeting in January.

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Merciless government can’t beg for mercy

MANILA (SE): A Filipino migrant worker, Jakatia Pawa, was hanged in Kuwait on January 25 after being found guilty of murdering the 22-year-old daughter of her employer.

Pawa had maintained her innocence right through her long ordeal, saying that she had no motive whatsoever for killing the woman.

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Farmworkers trafficked around The Philippines

MANILA (UCAN): The Rural Missionaries of The Philippines reported on January 23 that the southern region of Mindanao has become a hotbed of trafficking in farm labour.

While migrant workers have often been the target of trafficking rings, it seems that staying home is no protection from the lassoes of those that buy and sell people for a living.

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The silence of the people is the big killer

MANILA (SE): The bishops of The Philippines issued their first joint statement condemning the war on the poor being waged by the president, Rodrigo Duterte, at the conclusion of their 112th Plenary Assembly held at Cebu City during January.

In a statement that was read at all Masses across the country on February 5 the bishops say, “This traffic in illegal drugs needs to be stopped and overcome. But the solution does not lie in the killing of suspected drug users and pushers.”

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Is Duterte feeling the heat?

MANILA (SE): “The Catholic Church is full of sh...t,” the president of The Philippines proclaimed in bookending the Congress on Mercy held in Manila from January 16 to 20 with crude attacks on the Church and bishops.

Anticipating that his war on the poor would be attacked during the worldwide congress, Duterte was not disappointed and topped off his crude attack prior to the gathering with an equally crude one at the end.

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Congress of Mercy hears plea from streets

MANILA (SE): The Catholic Church in The Philippines was weighed but found wanting in responding to the issues that confronted the people, especially the poor, over the past year.

During national elections in May last year, the Church-based Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting tried to give expression to a Church committed to making a difference in the political arena.

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Peace and war are not happy bedfellows

ROME (SE): The populist Rodrigo Duterte rode to victory in the May 2016 Philippine presidential polls on the back of two big issues, drugs and the peace process in Mindanao, promising to fix up both in a period of about 100 days.

However, as after six months he is no closer to denting the drug trade or rescuing the peace process, which is stumbling towards disaster, it is emerging that the two campaigns may be destroying each other.

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Who is dying in the war on the poor?

Bennie had a thin, hollow face. A picture of malnutrition at 22-years-of-age, he had never been to school for more than a few months, could not read or write and was a one-meal a day man.

He was dressed in shorts and a dirty T-Shirt. His flip-flops, his only possession, were worn thin. He pushed a small wooden cart along the back streets of Manila picking up discarded plastic bottles and bits of metal that fell off jeepneys or trucks. He was a discarded piece of humanity.








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Philippine Church calls for support for flood victims

MANILA (UCAN): The Church in The Philippines is calling on all parishes to pool their resources to offer assistance to the victims of severe flooding caused by torrential monsoon rains in the southern part of the country in mid-January.

Eleven people, including eight children, have been reported to have died in the surging waters, while thousands of families were forced to flee their homes as heavy rains hit several parts of the Visayas and Mindanao regions.

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Duterte’s politics of shame

MANILA (SE): The same man who said, “I wanted to call out, ‘Pope, you (expletive deleted) go home. Don’t come here anymore’,” on 30 November 2015 has now penned a letter to Pope Francis expressing the profound depth of his respect for the bishop of Rome.

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