Philippines poll violence rises

President orders troops to dismantle "private armies" in run-up to polls.

    The troops have been ordered to help dismantle politicians' "private armies" [EPA]
    One of Resuello's aides died at the scene and seven others were wounded in the attack at a beauty festival on Saturday.
     
    In a separate incident, the mayor of Morong in Bataan, north of the capital Manila, survived an attack on his home when assailants opened fire with automatic weapons.
     
    Militias
     
    Filipinos go to the polls in two weeks to elect 12 senators, the entire 230-seat House of Representatives and thousands of local officials from members of town councils to mayors and provincial governors.
     
    Elections in the Philippines are often marred by violence, with rival politicians, especially in the provinces, maintaining militias to intimidate or harass opponents.
     
    In the 2004 presidential elections, 148 deaths were recorded and 111 deaths were linked to the 2001 mid-term polls.
     
    So far in this election 25 people have been killed.
     
    Last Thursday, a town council candidate and a policeman were killed in an ambush by suspected political rivals in the town of Jaen in northern Nueva Ecija province.
     
    Oscar Calderon, the national police chief, said over the weekend that 52 of 90 known private armies controlled by politicians nationwide had been dismantled and 2,000 people illegally carrying guns had been arrested.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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