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Page last updated at 16:02 GMT, Wednesday, 2 December 2009

Shock and disbelief after Philippine massacre

People in the Philippines give their reaction to the politically motivated attack earlier in the week, in which 57 people died, and discuss how clan violence can be stopped.

SAIMA MAMALO, STUDENT, COTABATO CITY

I live 30km away from where the massacre happened. Everyone here is really shocked.

Philippine soldier in Maguindanao
A state of emergency was declared in Maguindanao province

The Ampatuan clan is really powerful in Maguindanao province. Almost every town in the area has an Ampatuan for a mayor, vice mayor or councillor. They run the place and as somebody from the president's office said "they are not ordinary people".

Until now nobody has dared to challenge them in an election.

Clan violence is not something unheard of around here. But normally it would be one or two people killed.

I hope and pray that justice will be done for those who were killed and the families and loved ones that they've left

What happened this week has gone way too far. They've killed so many innocent people and worse - even women. Some of them were mutilated.

I hope the president will not be scared of them. I hope and pray that justice will be done for those who were killed and the families and loved ones that they've left.

I hope and pray that justice will still have a place in our tainted and wounded land.

CRISOLOGO L RAMASASA, RETIRED TEACHER, BALANGIGA

This is the most brutal election-related incident in the Philippines.

This kind of brutal act does not conform with a civilised society, it only happens in the uncivilised world.

Crisologo

If President Arroyo wants peace in the Philippines, she must order an impartial investigation, which should include foreign investigators. The results should be open to the public to show her commitment to solve this problem once and for all.

The clan violence can only be controlled if the Philippine government has the political will to disarm each tribal clan. The question is, does she have the guts to do it, considering that the clan in question and the president are close political allies.

We are afraid this case might be a whitewash considering the close relationship between the president and the suspected clan. I hope it won't happen.

In order to stop this kind of clan violence, clans should be disarmed and their private armies dismantled. Provinces should be under the control of the state military, not private armies.

If the current president can't do it, I hope that the next president who'll be elected next year, will have the will power to do it.

MONTSERRAT A VILLANUEVA, MANDAUE CITY, CEBU

I was shocked when I learned about what happened. The massacre was revolting and unbelievable. This is the worst kind of political violence that has happened in our country so far and it has evoked indignation from ordinary people.

Imagine the victims being buried in shallow graves with the vehicles they were using. Even the pregnant women were not spared by those monsters.

I hope and pray they will be punished to the full extent of the law.

The government should closely monitor the activities of political dynasties, especially in Muslim areas to prevent them from forming their own private armies.

ROMY GALANO, BANK WORER, MAKATI

This massacre is simply beyond words. I never thought that there are still people who can commit such a senseless act.

It's true that there is a prevalence of election violence here in the Philippines but this massacre is simply beyond comprehension. The so-called "arrest" of the principal suspect will hopefully start our own war of dismantling these well-protected and well-armed warlords in Mindanao.

Unfortunately, given President Arroyo's record, I expect that there will be negotiations along the way and we might just end up with a couple of "big fishes" ending up as sacrificial lambs and the larger entities getting away with no more than a slap on both wrists.

I am very pessimistic that justice will be done. It may take a new president to bring real justice to this great tragedy. I will be more than happy though, to be proven wrong on this assessment.



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