Philippines Toll Rises


Driving home my point about the dangers of small arms, it seems the death toll in this week’s massacre in the southern Philippines has risen to 57.

Murder charges have been filed against Datu Unsayalso Mayor Andal Ampatuan Jr., who handed himself in for questioning following the attack Monday by about 100 gunmen on a group of lawyers, journalists and a politician’s family.

The New York Times has an interesting piece on why Philippines President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo is under pressure following the attack:

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‘In  an interview with the Filipino broadcaster ABS-CBN News, Marites Vitug, a magazine editor who has written books on Mindanao, said that members of the Ampatuan clan — whom family members of the victims have accused of being responsible for the killings — “have delivered” votes for President Arroyo in the region they control. In turn, Ms. Vitug said, the government has continued a long-standing policy of providing arms to a civilian militia loyal to the clan’s patriarch, Andul Ampatuan.’

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