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When we celebrate Easter

Easter is the time we recall the tragic events of 2,019 years ago when a Jew, a man from Palestine, was spied upon, betrayed, persecuted, falsely charged, vilified, abandoned and arrested. It started with a mock trial that handed down the death penalty for the man from Nazareth, the Son of Man; Son of God, Jesus.
 
We also celebrate the resilience, the determination and the belief and hope of the persecuted and oppressed to rise up and speak out and challenge the forces of oppression.








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The evil web of human trafficking

The most recent case of human trafficking that I have been involved in, and they are many, is that of Angelica, a 15-year-old girl sold by her mother to her employer. He is a rough, crude man, the owner of several mini-buses from which he earns a lot of money and can afford to buy children for sexual abuse.
 








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Child sexual abuse in the institutional Church

There are serious and profound changes taking place in the Catholic Church to acknowledge and prevent child sexual abuse by clerics and laypeople, to prosecute the perpetrators and to heal the victims. It is the belated result of generations of historical clerical child sexual abuse, and the denial and cover up of their crimes by some bishops and cardinals around the world. It has become a crisis for the Church as an institution.
 








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The empowerment of women and children

There is a rising tide of people power in the world today and it is female power. Women are standing up and speaking out as never before and more people are sitting up and listening to what they have to say. Their message is basic, straightforward and its most important words are: freedom from abuse, equality, justice, education.
 








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Will senators vote to send children to jail?

We entered the so-called Bahay Pagasa (House of Hope.) It turned out to be a children’s jail. We brought snacks and drinks to share with the young people in the cells. About 25 girls were crowded into one room. No air conditioning here, no fans either, so we brought some, but the rancid body smells pervaded the cells in the hot tropical heat.
 








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The culture of fear and silence

Twenty young girls, some of them only 14 years of age, were finally rescued from the Victory Hotel that caters to foreign sex tourists in Mabacalat, Pampanga, a few kilometres north of Angeles City by the anti-trafficking police unit in Camp Crame, Quezon City. It was an open fact that child prostitution was the daily routine there. 
 








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When children cry out

Catholics around the world could not have imagined that a Roman Catholic cardinal and archbishop, George Pell, a close confidant of the pope would ever be convicted in a civil court for the sexual abuse of two altar boys aged 13. He was treasurer of the Vatican Bank.
 








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The end of the earth as we know it

Human society of which we are all a part, is facing an environmental catastrophe unprecedented in history. The planet is in dire condition and ecosystems that keep all species of plant, animal and insects in harmonious co-existence, ensuring the survival of all, are moving quickly toward collapse.
 








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When children are criminalised

The lower chamber of the Philippine Congress is going to approve the lowering of the minimum age of criminal liability of a child from the present 15 years of-age to 12 years of age. They really wanted to reduce it to nine-years-old, but public outcry forced the politicians to change. 
 
Yet, 12-years-old is too young to impute criminal liability. What knowledge and discernment do uneducated, impoverished hungry street children at 12-years-old know and understand?
 








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The warming of Planet Earth

There is something strange and unusual happening to our world, and every one of us will be impacted. One indigenous people of the Philippines, the Aeta people of Luzon, have survived for as many 30,000 years by their unique survival skills in the rain forests as hunters and gatherers.