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Mt. Diwalwal, Mindanao, Philippines...Mt. Diwalwal is said to hold the Philippines' largest gold deposit, perhaps one of the largest in the world, according to the Philippines Department of Environment and Natural Resources. Years were when a miner can earn a few thousand bucks in a day. With the new-found wealth, however, has come the problem of peace and order. ..The area is said to hold the Philippines' largest gold deposit, perhaps one of the largest in the world. Indeed, the gold was so abundant and the people so few (there were no big miners then, unlike today) that Diwalwal soon became a replica of the gold-rush site in San Francisco, California in the last century. Bars and brothels sprouted. Trade and commerce became so brisk that an enterprising businessman could make thousands in a week just by selling Medicol; the businessman wouldn't even have to think about becoming a miner himself. Along with the easy money came the law-and-order problem. Because the area was largely unregulated by government, anybody -- among them criminals from all over the country -- could just come and blend in with the population. Soon, miners were beginning to guard their respective turfs and since they could only do this by having arms, they turned to the military and the police. Miners would rent their firearms (the rent was called an SOP, for "standard operating procedure"); an M16 rifle could be rented for P30,000 a month while a .45-caliber automatic pistol could be had for P15,000 a month. The cops and the soldiers needn't have to mine gold themselves...Soon, Diwalwal became the murder capital of the Philippines, with bodies turning up dead practically every day. People also would go missing -- and nobody seemed to care..All photographs ©2003 Stuart Isett.All rights reserved.