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Port Moresby, PAPUA NEW GUINEA – October 1, 2020: 8:14am (RNZ PACIFIC): Francesco Panfilo, the Archbishop of Rabaul in Papua New Guinea’s East New Britain, says he’s relieved but also feels some regret as he begins his retirement this week.

Francesco Panfilo, the Archbishop of Rabaul in Papua New Guinea’s East New Britain, says he’s relieved but also feels some regrets as he begins his retirement this week.

He has been, for much of the tenure, fighting for the underdog, and his retirement was delayed three years ago because of his work to procure better lease arrangements for landowners in Pomio.

Because of his efforts these landowners are now in the process of trying to renegotiate a new deal with the Malaysian logging and palm oil giant, Rimbunan Hijau.

Archbishop Panfilo farewelled Photo: supplied

“So on one side I feel relief and on the other hand I hope that this issue that I have fought for will really bring some benefits for the people, on both aspects – not only the socially and politically but also the spiritual because, you know, I am an Archbishop I am not a politician,” he said

78 year old Archbishop Panfilo, who is Italian, said he will move to the Philippines and only visit Italy when the weather warms up.

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