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Diocese bemoans election cacophony

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (UCAN): The Diocese of Marbel, in Mindanao, the Phlippines called for election candidates to stop or turn down their “ear-splitting” campaign jingles in the run-up to national and local mid-term elections on May 13.
 
Father Ariel Destora, director of the diocesan Social Action Centre, slammed the noise pollution caused by sound systems — mostly blaring from vehicles — used by candidates. The din has been bad enough to disrupt the celebration of the Mass.
 

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Church charity steps in to aid disaster-hit Filipino farmers

Carigara (UCAN): It took some time for Rosenda Apay, a 59-year-old farmer, to realise that she was finally tilling her own farm. It took more than 16 years of lobbying and asserting her rights to have land.
 
Today, Apay and 21 other farmers, affected by the disaster wrought by Super Typhoon Haiyan in 2013, are tilling a 25-hectare (.25 square kilometres) communal farm in the central Philippines.
 
They said their perseverance paid off as they admitted that many of their fellow farmers “have given up the fight.”

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Pope names two new bishops for dioceses in southern Philippines

MANILA (UCAN): Pope Francis named Father Cosme Almedilla and Claretian Father Leo Dalmao as the new bishops for Butuan, Agusan del Norte province, and Isabela, Basilan province, in the southern Philippine region of Mindanao.
 
Father Almedilla, who comes from the Diocese of Talibon in Bohol province, will succeed Bishop Juan de Dios Pueblos who died in October 2017. Father Dalmao, who also comes from Bohol, will take over from Bishop Martin Jumoad who was named bishop of Ozamiz in 2016.
 

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Bishop demands probe into killing of Philippine farmers

MANILA (UCAN): “We demand a quick investigation into this and appeal to the authorities to restore peace and order,” Bishop Gerardo Alminaza of San Carlos, Negros Oriental, the Philippines, said as he demanded an investigation into the killings of 14 farmers, one of whom was reportedly a Church worker, during three police operations in the central Philippine province on March 30.
 
The bishop said that the victims lived in one of diocese’s mission stations on the outskirts of the city of Canlaon where eight men were killed.

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Complaint filed against Xi Jinping for crimes against humanity

MANILA (UCAN): Former Philippine Foreign Affairs secretary, Albert del Rosario, and former Ombudsman, Conchita Carpio-Morales, along with a group of Filipino fishermen, filed a complaint—formally called a communication—before the International Criminal Court (ICC) against Chinese President Xi Jinping for alleged “crimes against humanity” on March 15.
 
They accused Xi and Chinese officials of causing environmental damage in the South China Sea.
 

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Filipino sex abuse victims to sue Church in United States

TACLOBAN (UCAN): McDonald Worley, a lawyer from Texas, the United States (US), said that testimonies and evidence are being gathered for the filing of a civil suit against Father Kenneth Hendricks and a “Catholic church in Ohio” for damages.
 
Worley, is representing a group of children from the central Philippines who allege that Father Hendricks, who is now under arrest, sexually abused them.
 

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Philippine Church leaders move to end charging fees

MANILA (UCAN): More Philippine bishops are taking steps to remove fees for sacraments and other services. The latest to make the move is Bishop Ruperto Santos of Balanga, who issued a circular on March 12 ordering the removal of fees for funeral Masses and blessings in his diocese. Priests were told not to charge fees for Masses even in private memorial chapels.
 
“Financial obligations from the perspective of the Church are not of prime importance and must not be a burden,” the bishop explained.
 

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Manila prays for rain

MANILA (UCAN): “We ask the Lord to hasten to send the rain we badly need ... so that damage to crops and other livelihoods and an impending water shortage may be averted,” Luis Cardinal Tagle of Manila, said as he called on people to pray for rain as about 6.8 million people in the Philippine capital and nearby areas began to feel the effects of a water shortage in mid-March.
 

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Mindanao faith groups seek to tackle emerging crises

DAVAO CITY (UCAN): Faith groups in the southern Philippines met on March 12 to coordinate efforts to address what they described as emerging humanitarian issues in Mindanao.
 
The gathering, called the FBO Forum, identified a “rise in violent extremism,” that needed a “coordinated response” from various Church organisations.
 
The groups also stressed the need to address “environmental concerns” affecting farming and tribal communities.  
 

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International law groups decry killings of Philippine lawyers

MANILA (UCAN): At a colloquium held in Manila, the Philippines, in mid-March, law groups from the United States of America and several European and Asian countries decried a reported rise in the number of attacks on lawyers and judges in the country in recent years in a report on the killings of legal profession members.
 
The Philippine Judges’ Association reported that at least 29 judges have been killed in the past 30 years.
 

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