Guns in southern Philippines

The World

Even the tiniest islands are not immune to trouble. In this island, war has broken out and many homes are abandoned. The men who remain cradle assault rifles. This Sulu police superintendent has come here to oversee a peace settlement between two warring families. The guns in the hands of civilians outnumber the ones carried by police. This man says he never leaves home without his machine gun. The entire Sulu archipelago has a long history of war. this man says America’s own gun culture has rubbed off here and that’s had serious impact on the health of civilians here; gunshot wounds are the main cause of death here. This woman has come to conduct the first scientific survey on the impact of firearms on the civilian population. A foreign visitor here attracts a lot of attention, but she’s never seen so many people carrying guns around. The results of her study will be shared with the provincial government here which is working for a total gun ban here. But officials admit that politicians will have to be the first to disarm. Convincing politicians and their armed followers will be the real test of the gun control program. Controlling the island’s security will also be a huge challenge. The Philippine Army, which is mainly Christian, has historically controlled security on the island, full of mainly Muslims. Governments in Manila have not given islanders much reason to trust them. Then surveyor says the government needs to provide more. Few islanders take their disputes to the courts and that’s made judges reluctant to serve.

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