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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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Who remembers what the pope said?

The Philippines seems to be off the international comment agenda of late. Even Pope Francis seems to have forgotten about its existence since his triumphant Palm Sunday-like entrance into Manila in 2015.
 
Papal condolences have been sent to France, Egypt and England on more than one occasion in recent days, but after a catastrophe in a Manila resort, a besieged city and declaration of martial law, as well as a kidnapped priest and people, some in The Philippines must be wondering what more they have to do to do to rate a papal mention.








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Top Muslim body condemns attack on Marawi

COTABATO (SE): “And we have not sent you (O Muhammad), except as a mercy to the world,” the Regional Dural Ifta (House of Opinions) says in a statement condemning the attack on and occupation of Marawi City, in The Philippines by what it describes as the un-Islamic Maute Group.
 
The Cotabato City-based Dural quotes the Sura Al-Anbiya in an appeal to the Maute to abandon its occupation of the city saying, “If they are true Muslims, they must adhere to the teachings and principles of Islam and bring mercy to this world.”

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First Mindanao then the country?

HONG KONG (SE): Two terrorist attacks on opposite sides of the world took place within 24 hours of each other on May 22 and 23.
 
In England, a bomb was detonated at a pop concert leaving some 22 mostly young people dead and in The Philippines, the city of Marawi in the troubled region of Mindanao was attacked, leaving many dozens more dead and hundreds of thousands of lives disrupted, a church in flames and Father Chito Suganob, as well as some 14 parishioners and 20 staff and students from the Protestant Dansalan College, abducted.

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Peace and war are not happy bedfellows

ROME (SE): The populist Rodrigo Duterte rode to victory in the May 2016 Philippine presidential polls on the back of two big issues, drugs and the peace process in Mindanao, promising to fix up both in a period of about 100 days.

However, as after six months he is no closer to denting the drug trade or rescuing the peace process, which is stumbling towards disaster, it is emerging that the two campaigns may be destroying each other.

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