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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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Sweet taste of Mindanao peace talks turns sour

MANILA (SE): Peace talks between the Philippine government and representatives from the National Democratic Front of the Communist Party of The Philippines that began on an upbeat note on August 22 this year, soured significantly during the second round, which got under way on October 8 in Oslo, Norway.

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Emerging patterns from Duterte’s erratic rhetoric

HONG KONG (SE): Despite the highly confusing and seemingly contradictory statements on foreign policy articulated by the president of The Philippines, Rodrigo Duterte, some patterns are beginning to emerge.

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Applause for peace process

OSLO (SE): The long stalled peace negotiations between the government of The Philippines and the National Democratic Front opened at the Scandic Holmenkollen Park Hotel in Oslo, Norway, on August 22, after what in effect has been a 15-year hiatus.

Delegates gathered in a friendly fashion with the knowledge that they had the best wishes and full support of the bulk of the population of Mindanao and most of The Philippines behind them.

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No surprise at peace deal rejection

MANILA (AsiaNews): The leaders of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front in Mindanao have asked their men to maintain the ceasefire with the government and to honour the peace treaty, even after the law that they fought for years was rejected when the congress failed to approve the Bangsamoro Basic Law that would make the Muslim-majority areas of Mindanao a region with special status.

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Church refuge torched in Mindanao

MANILA (UCAN): At least five people, including two children, were hurt after unidentified men torched a Church-run evacuation centre in the southern Philippine city of Davao early on February 24.

“At least three men poured gasoline on the tent before lighting it,” Piya Macliing Malayao, the secretary-general of the tribal group, Katribu, said.

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If you love the environment you better watch your back

DAVAO (UCAN): The Church is warning environmental advocates to watch their backs, as they have again become the target of the mining company goons in recent weeks. Father Edwin Gariquez said on February 2 that the worst of it is that the government is not doing anything to prevent the murders or bring those responsible to justice.

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