Gun's of Mindanao
Throughout years for people of Mindanao owning a gun became more important than having food to eat. People tend to scrimp on food in order to save money to buy arms. Sources of gun violence in the Philippines are by large politically motivated, criminality-related, and group conflict-driven. Economics and easy access to guns have also been largely identified as causes of gun violence. The country has a deeply entrenched gun culture, which can be attributed to several factors, including the people and clans they belong wanting to take the law into their hands because of the flawed justice system often very slow or biased in favor of economically and politically connected, high level of corruption among administration and law enforcement personnel. Also many people arm themselves to protect their families from potentially lawless either criminal or political groups. In the Philippines 73 private armies operate in the country with more than one million illegal high-powered firearms. Out of 73 private armies some 42 partisan armed groups (PAG) are in Mindanao, with nine under the control of the Ampatuans, the most powerful clan in Mindanao who’s patriarch has been indicted for Maguindanao massacre in November 2009, numbering to about 2,410-armed men.
Blood feuds date back before Mindanao was colonized, but in recent years became a power struggle between rival families. Blood feuds or “Rido” are considered to be one of the major problems because apart from numerous casualties, blood feuds caused destruction of property, crippled the local economy, and displaced families. In several years more than 8,000 people have been killed in rido’s and high percentage of cases remain unsolved.
As the gun culture in Mindanao is increasing children are growing up amid complex situation where large presence of gun violence, kidnapping, insurgency and poverty is part of their daily life rendering them to uncertain future.