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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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The Christmas lights of the hill

Hiking uphill through the hot tropical afternoon to the Aeta village of Baliwit, San Marcelino, carrying our loaded backpacks was a challenge in itself. But the happy thought of bringing some Christmas cheer into the lives of the extremely poor indigenous people kept us going.

Our mission was to bring Christmas lights into their lives. For us, we discovered it to be inspiring and encouraging.

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A fulfilling Christmas joy

What is it that makes Christmas so beautiful, so cheerful and such a happy time, especially for children? It has to be the gift-giving, the time when children can look forward to receiving signs of love and care, as well as share a bit.

Children in some well-off families receive so many gifts through the year that getting more has no special impact on them. But there are the children in poor families to whom a gift at Christmas is a joy they never forget, because they have so little in this world.

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Poverty is the best drug pusher

There was Jonathan, a 16-year-old teenager from a broken home where love no longer held a family together. Poverty that kept food from the table and from the mouths of his brother and sisters.

Jonathan saw the last of his father as he stormed out of their shanty by a river in the Philippine capital, drunk on cheap liquor to numb the pain of failure. He was a jobless man, fired by a corrupt boss. He was a useless, broken man, his dignity taken from him.

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Bishops and senate gagged

MANILA (SE): In a lengthy response to the socio-political landscape of The Philippines released on November 22, the bishops of the country admit that they have been gagged by the very people of the Church that they are there to guide and lead.

On November 16, a member of the senate, Risa Hontiveros, found herself gagged on the floor of the chamber when she attempted to read from a newspaper article written by Sunday Examiner columnist, Father Shay Cullen.

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Father Cullen honoured with humanitarian award

KILLARNEY (SE): Regular columnist for the Sunday Examiner, Father Shay Cullen, was awarded the Hugh O’Flaherty International Humanitarian Award at a weekend festival in Killarney, Ireland, for his work in promoting human rights, justice and peace.

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Maintaining a silence to kill

In the world today where violence and the violation of human rights are marked with a reluctance to take a stand against evil, not to report child abuse, not to oppose torture and not to oppose murder is a failure to confront criminal behaviour.

It is an indication of a culture of silence that could well be considered complicit in heinous crimes.

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Why are God’s people silent?

The Catholic Church in The Philippines, which means not just the leadership, but the people of God who believe in Jesus of Nazareth and his teaching on the sacredness of life, mercy, compassion and understanding, are being challenged in this day and age by the War-on-Drugs.

God’s people in the Church need to take a stand alongside and reach out to those in need of healing, care and help. Drug dependents are the victims of bandits, just like the one that was cared for by the Good Samaritan on the road to Jericho.

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It is Muslims that welcome refugees

It is truly an age of disbelief. Respect for the values of human life has plunged. The number of people of Christian faith, who declare belief in the teaching of Jesus of Nazareth that upholds the dignity and rights of the human person, stand with the poor and the excluded, share with the refugees and the homeless, is at an all-time low.

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Children in crossfire of Philippine Inquisition

The death of two small children caught in the gunfire of the vigilante assassins sent to kill suspected drug users and peddlers is an unfolding tragedy. The shoot-to-kill policy that has claimed at least 2,500 lives in the past few months is a descent into hell. 

Five-year-old Danica Mae Garcia was shot dead when two men on a motorcycle stopped at the house of Maximo Garcia while he was having lunch with his wife Gemma and their two grandchildren in the village of Mayombo, Dagupan City.