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Church urges government to scrap coal plant project

MANILA (Agencies) : More than 1,000 people took to the streets in Atimonan town, the capital of Quezon province, on September 14, for the second Church-led protest this year demanding the withdrawal of provincial government support for the establishment of coal-fired power plants in the province.

Protesters, led by Church people, urged the provincial board to stop the 1,200 megawatt power plant expansion project in Atimonan and the two existing coal plants in Mauban and Pagbilao.

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Government cannot hide murders behind its maverick militias

MANILA (Mabuhay) : The governor of Surigao del Sur, Johnny Pimentel, laid down the gauntlet when he declared a state of emergency in the province on September 18 as a result of up to 3,000 people frantically fleeing their homes in fear of their lives in the wake of execution-style murders committed by the Magahat-Bagani paramilitary on September 1.

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Bullish military tactics creating ghost villages

DAVAO (UCAN) : The murder of two tribal leaders in the southern Philippine province of Surigao del Sur has turned the areas inhabited by at least seven indigenous communities into virtual ghost villages.

“What are left now in the communities are our farm animals and empty houses,” Necias Avila, a council member of the village of Diatagon in Lianga town, said.

“We are afraid that our homes are now being looted,” Avila continued.

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Bishop’s ordination a shot in arm for typhoon survivors

PALO (Agencies) : The ordination of a new bishop from the typhoon-

devastated province of Leyte has buoyed the spirits of disaster victims, UCAN reported.

Hundreds of priests and Church personnel attended the ordination of Father Oscar Florencio as a bishop on September 4 at the Palo Metropolitan Cathedral, where Pope Francis met with disaster victims during his visit to The Philippines in January.

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Massacre investigation faces military harassment

DAVAO (UCAN) : Church groups working in tribal villages in Mindanao are accusing The Philippine Armed Forces of harassment and of maligning the credibility of a Church investigation into the murders of indigenous peoples in the area.

“The military harassed the group that investigated a reported massacre last week,” Reverend Christopher Ablon, from the Philippine Independent Church, said on September 7.

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Filipinos working worldwide urged to help refugees

MANILA (Agencies) : The more than one million Filipinos working in Europe, as well as others over the world, have been urged by the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of The Philippines to join Pope Francis in providing concrete help to refugees from countries in conflict like Syria.

Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle, president of Caritas Internationalis, was quoted by CBCP News as saying that it is high time for people to be in solidarity with refugees who are fleeing death from war and hunger.

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Education should be for all

MANILA (Agencies) : “World leaders have a duty to take seriously the task of providing their people easy access to education. Everyone must be given the chance to a kind of education that respects their ethnic background, cultural upbringing and socio-economic status,” Jeanette Javie Sumicad, a special education teacher at Siena College Taytay, told CBCP News.

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We need the young to care for the earth

MANILA (Agencies) : Reflecting on the lessons of St. Augustine, the son of St. Monica, Archbishop Socrates Villegas expressed the need to reach out to the generation growing up in this century in taking care of the environment.

“We need the millennials. The home that God entrusted to us is dying and it is obvious with the climate change and irresponsibility we’ve tolerated for too long,” the president of the bishops’ conference was quoted by CBCP News as saying.

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Women’s bodies more sacred than balikbayan boxes

MANILA (Agencies) : Amid widespread public outcry against a proposal from the Bureau of Customs to open balikbayan boxes, Dolores Octaviano, is asking if the Department of Health is scrutinising imported contraceptive drugs for free distribution under the Reproductive Health Law with the same minute care with which the Bureau of Customs wants to scrutinise the boxes.

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Politicians and Church leaders silent over journalists’ murders

MANILA (UCAN) : The National Press Club of The Philippines was sharply critical of political and Church leaders for their constant silence over the long-running series of murders of journalists, saying that three have been killed in the past two weeks and not one politician or Church leader has even mentioned it.