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Making children scapegoats for criminals

OLONGAPO (SE): Two bills have been filed in the lower house of the Philippine congress by the speaker, Feliciano Belmonte, one proposing a change in the law to make children possibly as young as nine- or 12-years-old criminally responsible and the other to reintroduce the death penalty.

“This is draconian and repressive for children and not worthy of the administration of Rodrigo Duterte or the Philippine people,” social commentator, Father Shay Cullen, told the Sunday Examiner on July 15.

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No justice in a bullet in the head or a bag

The Philippines is moving away from its former ear of compassion and justice to one where the innocent are targets for assassination and imprisonment on false charges.

In recent weeks, dozens of bodies have been found, shot dead, with signs pinned on them, declaring them criminals deserving to die.

But there was no trial, no justice. The killers have contempt for the process of justice. 








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What sits behind the drug mafia?

Maria Rae was just 13-years-old when she began to have conflict with her aunt. She came from a broken home. She was abandoned when her parents split up.

This is the great injustice and hardship suffered by the children of couples who come together without lasting love. They are driven more by impulse, have an unwanted child and then part ways, abandoning the child.








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The destructive trade in dangerous drugs

Young people by the thousands are dropping dead after stuffing chemicals into their bodies to forget their problems or just to get an exciting high to overcome their inhibitions.

A few weeks ago at an open air dance concert in Manila, another five people collapsed on the dancefloor and died, either on the spot or later in hospital from a presumed drug overdose.








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Election outcome: rule of law or the gun?

The greatest upset in Philippine presidential elections this past May 9 has been the phenomenal ninety-day campaign by the then little-known mayor of Davao City in Mindanao-—Rodrigo Duterte, a one term congress member but mayor for more than two decades. He rose to national prominence three months ago by being his own true self.

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Where did your presidential vote go?

It is election time and some say nothing ever changes in The Philippines. The candidates change, but the social inequality remains. Candidates for the presidency this time range from two representing the wealthy elite, the daughter of a deceased movie star and a foul-mouthed mayor vowing to kill all suspected criminals, in addition to senator who is fronting for the family of the former dictator.








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An unseen generosity

I met Alamid while I was in Germany. He told me he was a refugee from Syria. Their house had been partly destroyed by barrel bombs dropped by the armies of Bashar al-Assad, the Russian-supported Syrian dictator.

Alamid, together with his family and an uncle, is among the hundreds of non-combatant families bombed out of home who has lost all of his possessions. They survive the bombs by taking shelter in basements.








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Germany gives a fair go to all

I am in Stuttgart, Germany, at the Annual Fair Trade Exhibition and Philippine products are gaining a high profile with growing sales. This brings jobs and prosperity with fair payment to thousands of Filipinos.

I have been invited as a guest speaker at the opening of the fair. It is holiday time in Germany and many thousands of visitors come to this massive four-day exhibition to buy and promote Fair Trade and organic products.








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Are unhappy marriages here to stay?

 

Children make up 77 per cent of rape survivors in The Philippines and the crime occurs at a rate of two every minute.

Data released last year by the National Police shows rape cases surged by 63.5 per cent to 8,288, up from 5,069 recorded in the first six months of 2014.








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Spotlight on crime against children

There is a time when the truth has to be revealed, when the secrecy of crimes can no longer be contained or denied, and when the guilty must be held to account. History shows that secrecy and cover up keeps that day of reckoning at bay, but one day the truth will come out.