Easter blessings from UCAN
There is no more important week in the year for Christians than this Holy Week. We call it Holy because of the mystery we celebrate - God's gift of His son who loves us to his death on Calvary and beyond.
Because of that love, we wish each other Happy Easter even when we know there is a lot of tragedy about it - Good Friday. As Christians, we know that what we see happening with and in Jesus goes to the heart of what we know from our own experience of life.
At the Second Vatican Council, the Christian lives we all lead were described as being shares in the Paschal Mystery. We have our share in the death and resurrection of Jesus every day. Our lives are part of the Paschal Mystery.
At UCAN, we work to describe that mystery in the unfolding tragedies and astonishing blessings of the people we seek out and report, feature and comment on.
While at times deeply distressing work, this effort of ours gets its coherence in the same way the death of Jesus did - because of the astonishing grace of a God who never gives up on life and love.
Because of that, we can wish you Happy Easter.
Fr. Michael Kelly SJ
Military claims success over rebel fighters
Officers say hundreds were 'neutralized' last year
- ucanews.com reporter, Manila
- February 6, 2013
The Philippines military claims to have dealt communist rebels a major blow in the past year by "neutralizing" 555 fighters at a cost of 164 government troops and civilians killed.
Around 367 rebels surrendered while the rest were either killed or captured during combat operations, military spokesman Colonel Arnulfo Marcelo Burgos told reporters at a press conference on Wednesday.
Government security officials estimate the fighting strength of the communist-led New People's Army (NPA) at approximately 4,000, down from an estimated 4,700 in 2010.
The NPA is the armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines, which has been waging a guerrilla war with the government since 1969.
During the Marcos years the NPA's strength stood at an estimated 25,000.
Armed Forces chief General Emmanuel Bautista has vowed to render the communist movement "inconsequential" before he retires next year.
"The [armed forces] will never waiver in its commitment to thwarting NPA atrocities and armed violence until lasting peace and stability for our country is achieved," Bautista said.
He added that he supported peace negotiations between the government and the rebels.
According to mlitary statistics, communist rebels launched a total of 374 attacks last year, leading to the deaths of 53 civilians, 81 soldiers, eight policemen and 22 government militiamen.