The Philippine War on Drugs Escalates
By admin August 16, 2017

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On August 15, a massive raid in the Bulacan Province in the Philippines led to the death of 32 individuals that were suspected drug offenders. The raid lasted 24 hours and involved dozens of police raids carried out in the province. Over a hundred people were arrested and drugs along with weapons cache were confiscated. The raids are considered the bloodiest night yet in Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte war on drugs. This comes on the heels of a bloody and violent yearlong campaign by the President to eliminate the use and sale of drugs in the country.

President Duterte’s war on drugs began in July of 2016 soon after he won the Presidential election that May. One of his main campaign promises was to eliminate drugs from Philippine society by any means necessary. After the election Duterte vowed to kill tens of thousands of drug offenders in his effort to clean the streets. Prior to his election as President, Duterte was Mayor of Davao City where he was often criticized by human rights groups for his authorization and endorsement of extrajudicial killings of drug offenders.

Over 5,600 drug offenders have been killed so far in the war on drugs. While many have been killed by police officers in official raids, a good number have been killed by ordinary citizens turned contract killers and vigilantes. Duterte’s push for extrajudicial killings have allowed people to make money from the killing of drug offenders. The business of killing in the Philippine drug war has been widely criticized by the international community as well as local politicians because it prevents the judicial rule of law for those suspected of being drug offenders.

Although Duterte’s promise to wipe the country free of drugs has led to thousands of deaths and a crisis of consciousness for the Philippine people, many have come out in support of the war. Ordinary citizens are reported to feel safer in the streets and other crimes such as mugging and assault have also significantly dropped with offenders fearing for their life even for even miniscule offenses. The questions that arise from the Philippine drug war are not about the success or failure of such an operation, rather they are about when and if a moral line should be drawn in the deaths of thousands of people. Should judicial law dictate failure or success, or do the ends justify the means? History will determine whether President Duterte was on the just side of the war on drugs.

Further Reading:

City of the Dead

Philippine drug war sees ‘bloodiest night’ of deaths

Philippines Police Relaunch ‘War on Drugs’

The Philippines’ president has declared a war on drugs, and it’s turned normal people into hired killers

Philippines secret death squads: officer claims police teams behind wave of killings

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