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Military bullets leave two more dead as others flee

DAVAO (SE): Some 200 indigenous people have flocked to Davao City in the southern Philippines, saying that they had been forced to flee their homes in Compostela when they were intimidated by the Armed Forces of The Philippine in the Mangayon village area at the end of November.

UCAN reported they said that government soldiers had occupied the community school and their homes, claiming that they were looking for Communist rebels.

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Where is all the land going?

MANILA (UCAN): Farmers have decried what they are calling the plunder of the land they till through “unbridled expansion of corporate agricultural plantations” in the southern region of Mindanao.

“There will be no more land in Mindanao even for cemeteries if plantations are allowed to expand,” Ranmil Echanis, the secretary-general of the Union of Agricultural Farmworkers, said.

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More indigenous murdered by paramilitaries

HONG KONG (SE): At 12 noon on September 28, the 44-year-old driver of a passenger motorcycle, Lito Abion, was shot dead by two unknown gunmen while waiting for passengers at the rank near Purok Two bus terminal at Dona Flavia, San Luis, Agusan del Sur in the southern Philippines.

Citing documentation from the Higala sa Lumad Network, the Hong Kong-based Asian Human Rights Commission reports that a red Honda XRM motorcycle carrying two men was parked nearby.

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Twisting a life-giving law to justify murder

MANILA (UCAN): On November 11, the archbishop of Manila, Luis Cardinal Tagle, made his widely publicised visit to displaced tribal people from Mindanao and called for an end to the military occupation of their schools and communities.

On the very same day, a commander from a military-backed paramilitary militia defended the execution of the principal of an indigenous children’s school before the congress.

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Indonesia blocks media to gag Papuan voices

Jakarta (UCAN): Indonesia continues to restrict foreign media access to the Christian-majority provinces of Papua and West Papua, despite assurances from the president, Joko Widodo, that reporters would have unimpeded access to the region.

Human Rights Watch Asia deputy director, Phelim Kine, said that elements of the Indonesian government have failed to deliver on Widodo’s promise to open Papua to foreign reporters.

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Maguindanao Massacre is tragedy upon tragedy

MANILA (UCAN): “Let’s continue our advocacy for justice and peace,” Bishop Martin Jumoad said on November 23 as The Philippines marked the sixth anniversary of the Maguindanao Massacre, in which 58 people, including 32 journalists, died.

“Let’s not sit down... instead push so that truth will prevail,” the bishop continued.

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Where have all the bodies gone?

TACLOBAN (UCAN): The search for the missing victims of Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda), which hit the Central Visayas in The Philippines on 8 November 2013, is still going on, two years after official figures show that approximately a little over 6,000 people died and some 2,500 may be considered to be missing.

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Chance for migrant workers to make a future at home

HONG KONG (SE): The youngest senator in the Philippine congress, Benigno (Bam) Aquino, was in Hong Kong on November 22 to talk up a bill he authored, dubbed Go Negosyo (Go Business), that was passed into law in July last year.

Aquino described the bill as being designed to ignite fresh sparks in the overall development of the Philippine economy, especially outside of the big cities.

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Aquino blocks Australian off-load

MANILA (UCAN): “There is no agreement,” the president of The Philippines, Noynoy Aquino, told the Foreign Correspondent’s Club in Manila on October 27 in regard to an offer of AUD150 million ($825 million) to resettle permanently refugees and asylum seekers currently in Australian cold storage on Manus Island in Papua New Guinea and the tiny island state of Nauru.

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Get military off indigenous land

MANILA (SE): In the wake of a series of murders and executions of leaders of tribal communities in the southern island of Mindanao in The Philippines by the military and military created paramilitary forces, Luis Cardinal Tagle has called for the creation of peace zones on land belonging to indigenous peoples.

The cardinal wants a complete withdrawal of all government forces, as well as the forces of the Communist New People’s Army.

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