1. firearms found enough to supply a battalion
MANILA, Philippines – (UPDATE 4) High-powered firearms, enough for one battalion, and which have the markings of “Department of National Defense and PNP [Philippine National Police] Camp Crame” were unearthed from the diggings near the compound of a powerful clan that has been linked to the election-related killings in Maguindanao in November, PNP Director General Jesus Verzosa said Friday.
“Our estimate is that the weapons found are enough to arm one battalion,” Verzosa told a press conference, following reports from the military in Shariff Aguak, the capital of Maguindanao, that more sophisticated firearms were uncovered Thursday night in the area of Barrio 3, some 300 meters away from the compound of the Ampatuans....Also on Friday, illegal firearms—a 60-millimeter mortar, considered a “light weapon” —from one of the houses of the Ampatuans in Shariff Aguak, the capital of the province.
Verzosa said “light weapons” should only be assigned and given to proper security forces and not in the hands of private persons or government officials.
“Light weapons are illegal. Light weapons ito ‘yong [these are] recoilless rifle, Barrett gun, mortar…It’s possible that it is sourced from other countries,” Verzosa told reporters....Muslim rebels fighting for an independent homeland have been waging a rebellion on Maguindanao and other parts of Mindanao island since the late 1970s.
The conflict has claimed more than 150,000 lives since the late 1970s, according to military estimates.
Arroyo's government has used Muslim clans such as the Ampatuans to rule these areas, and allowed them to build up their own armies as part of a containment strategy against the insurgents.
However critics of the strategy have said this has created warlords who act outside the law, with the massacre just the most dramatic example.
2. the ruthless political entrepreneurs of Muslim Mindanao
By Francisco “Pancho” Lara Jr.
Research Associate at the Crisis States Research Center, Development Studies Institute, London School of Economics.
The Maguindanao massacre predicts the eruption of wider violence and conflict as the nation heads towards the 2010 elections. Yet to dismiss this incident as “election-related” is to miss the fundamental political and economic implications of this evil deed. The massacre is rooted in the shift in politico-economic sources of violence and conflict in Muslim Mindanao. It signifies the emergence of new-type warlords whose powers depend upon their control of a vast illegal and shadow economy and an ever-growing slice of internal revenue allotments (IRA). Both factors induce a violent addiction to political office.
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