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Tribal teachers in Mindanao seek church sanctuary

MANILA (UCAN): A group of six tribal teachers in the southern Philippines accused soldiers of trying to arrest them and sought sanctuary in a parish church in the province of Surigao del Sur on June 20.
 
Father Raymond Ambray, head of the social action centre of the Diocese of Tandag, said that soldiers had tried to take the teachers to a military camp. 
 

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Fiftieth anniversary of massacre that triggered war in Mindanao

MANILA (UCAN): Filipino advocates marked the 50th anniversary of the 18 March 1968 massacre of Muslim commandos reportedly trained by the government of then-president of the Philippines, Ferdinand Marcos, to wreak havoc in Sabah, Malaysia in the 1960s.
 
At a forum in Manila last week, historians and academics called the incident one of the “heinous crimes of the dictatorship” against the Moro people.
 

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Advocates fast to build Mindanao schools

MANILA (UCAN): Members of a Philippine ecumenical church group, Dambana, started the Pray, Fast, Build Lenten programme and other Lenten activities to raise money to help build tribal schools in the southern region of Mindanao.
 
The group, an ecumenical disaster response network of faith-based organisations, has been inviting young people to join the project.
 
Miro Sabino, a 15-year-old son of a church worker, donated his savings during the Christmas break to the programme, saying he is happy to be able to help.

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Church joins calls for Mindanao flood probe

BUTUAN CITY (UCAN): Church leaders in Mindanao have joined calls for an investigation into what caused the devastating floods that displaced thousands of families and killed at least 16 people on February 12.
 
Landslides and floods triggered by heavy rain dumped by tropical depression Sanba (Basyang) displaced at least 37,370 individuals in the southern Philippine region of Caraga.
 
The scale and speed of the flooding took many by surprise.
 

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Violence in Mindanao headed for yet another nosedive

ZAMBOANGA (SE): “Why Marawi?” is a question that despite the widespread discussion on the siege which has been going on in the predominately Muslim city in Lanao del Sur on the southern Philippine island of Mindanao has remained an allusive one.
 
However, an Islamic-Christian community group based in Zamboanga, the Silsilah (an Arabic word meaning link) Dialogue Movement, says that it is a question that can no longer be ignored.
 

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Kicking ’em while they’re down in name of religion

MANILA (UCAN): The kick ‘em while they’re down adage is used to describe a lack of sportsmanship or unfair play.
 
When the former bishop of Davao discovered that some Christian groups are sneaking a bible into relief packages intended for Muslim people who have been displaced from their homes because of the current siege of Marawi, he described it as taking an unfair advantage of the misery of others in the name of religion.
 

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Talk of Islamic State obscures the issue in Marawi

HONG KONG (SE): While martial law may provide a panacea for a conclusion to the siege that Marawi City in the southern Philippines has been under since May 23, it is not capable of predicting a timeframe for its cessation and is certainly not able to address the fundamental causes that inspired the violent occupation in the first place.
 

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Children on the frontline of Philippine conflicts

MANILA (UCAN): The Philippines is home to one of the longest-standing conflicts in southeast Asia. The complex narratives of various insurgent groups fighting the government include the use of children as combatants.
 
The United Nations (UN) says the recruitment and use of children during conflict is a severe violation of human rights and is condemned by the Security Council. But in many parts of the world children play a direct part in combat.
 

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No dialogue with extremists bishop says

DAGUPAN (UCAN): Bishop Edwin de la Peña, from Marawi on the southern Philippine island of Mindanao, said that there is no way the Church can dialogue with extremists at a conference in the northern province of Pagasinan on June 29.
 

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Gunmen descrate church in Cotabato

COTABATO (UCAN): Orlando Cardinal Quevedo, from Cotabato, Mindanao, has condemned reported desecration of a Catholic chapel by terrorist gunmen in the southern Philippines on June 21.
 
The incident, in the village of Malagakit, occurred when about 300 gunmen of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF), a breakaway faction of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, attacked Pigcawayan, Cotabato, resulting in the displacement of hundreds of residents.
 
The group has pledged allegiance to the Islamic State.

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