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Our planet choking on plastic

It surrounds us. It is in every place we go, on the street, on the beach or the woods. We see it when we climb a mountain or go for a swim. It is there, evidence of our willful neglect or ingenious inventiveness. It is our own man-made friend and already a destructive enemy. It is causing much permanent and irreversible harm to us and also to the creatures of the planet. Yes, you guessed it, it is plastic.

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The resurrection of Jessica

Jessica was a lost child wandering the streets of a Philippine city, picked up by a human trafficker and brought to different places where she was sold as a commodity to foreign sex tourists to be abused. 
She didn’t know what was happening to her at 14 years of age. She was raped, exploited and robbed of her virginity. She became angry at the world and felt she was nothing and had nothing. She felt she had no future, no present and no past life. 

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The profile of a dictator

History is full of tyrants and dictators. Stalin, Hitler, Mussolini, Mao Zedong are among the worst in past history, but today,dictatorship is increasingly on the rise. 
True democracy is in retreat as elected officials turn to dictatorship as a way to stay in power and rule with an iron fist and declare they will save their nation from evil and make the nation great. Putin, Erdoğan, Omar Al-Bashir, Kim Jong II are just a few of many that come to mind.

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A victory for children’s rights

After a French court acquitted a 30-year-old man of child rape after he had sexual relations with an 11-year-old, the public was outraged and rightly so. 
The judge ruled that unless it could be proven that he had used force or intimidation, it was not rape but sexual assault of a child and he could be sentenced to a much lesser penalty. 

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Opposing human trafficking and modern slavery

Church and police authorities and non-government organisations (NGOs) recently came together at the Vatican under the Santa Marta Group headed by Vincent Cardinal Nichols to discuss and share their experiences and listen to each other. They discussed greater cooperation in combating the global scourge and horrific crimes of human trafficking of vulnerable people into modern slavery. Cooperation is absolutely essential to finding an efficient global response and local action to save the victims and challenge the criminals.

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Working to jail the child abusers

When put on trial in Pasay City, Metro Manila, child sex abusers can expect a conviction and a harsh sentence of life in prison without parole from judge, Tingaraan Guiling, if the evidence warrants it. 
On February 12, a just decision based on the evidence, was handed down against Roque Galve, for the aggravated sexual assault and rape of a minor, let’s call her Rose. The judge is to be commended for doing justice for the abused child and many more like her.

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Fighting poverty through fair trade

Fifty-seven-year-old Pepito Alvarez and his wife Conchita, are among one of the thousands of small mountain subsistence farmers who have lived just below the poverty line all their  lives. 

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Philippine democracy under threat

The young man, Jake, 22-year-old and single laughed when I asked him whom he voted for in the local elections for mayor. He said he abstained, but he went to the house of the mayor and received a payment all the same. “Why not?”, he reasoned, “It was for free everyone was going there.” 

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A big victory for exploited children

Mr. AB was convicted after a nearly four-and-a-half year trial. He pleaded guilty to lesser charges and got off lightly with time served. He is a national of the United States of America (US), recently convicted of child trafficking and child sexual abuse in a court in Olongapo, the Philippines,. 

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Journalists risk death in pursuit of the truth

Journalists, writers, reporters, commentators will just have to curb their passion for speaking and exposing the truth if they want to continue to live. Too many end up as corpses in a cold dark morgue, with silence their only companion. That is just the way it is in the Philippines and elsewhere. More than 146 journalists have been assassinated since 1986.