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Duterte's War on Drugs

Photographer: Francis R. Malasig and Mark R. Cristino

 

Since he took office on 30 June 2016, Philippines' new president, Rodrigo Duterte, has launched a nationwide anti-drug campaign that has so far reportedly led to the deaths of more than 6,000 people, who were allegedly killed in police raids or at the hands of vigilante groups.

 

National and international human rights groups have condemned the campaign and called on Duterte to stop the extrajudicial killings and ensure the protection and rights of people who use drugs. According to media reports, Duterte has rejected that the killings constituted a 'crime against humanity'.

 

At the Manila North Cemetery, the largest cemetery in Metro Manila, gate keeper Terdizo Mendez in an interview with the European PressPhoto Agency (epa) said that an increase of 20-30 burial rites could be recorded on Sundays for the past months. According to local news reports, an average of 11 people were killed daily based on statistics of the Philippine National Police (PNP).

 

Filipino presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella on 27 December 2016, while speaking on the administration's accomplishment over the first six months of its crackdown on drug dealers and cartels, said that President Duterte’s anti-crime campaign had resulted in the surrender of more than 900,000 drug addicts and the confiscation of billions of worth of illicit drugs.

 

Abella added that the government had come to regard drugs not only as a national security but also a 'public health issue' which resulted in the building of rehabilitation facilities all over the country.