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Philippines War on Drugs

The Inauguration of Rodrigo Duterte as the sixteenth President of the Philippines marks the change that most of
the Filipino never contemplated. Change is coming, but it wont come easy; the very words that the president himself
reiterated from the moment he began to speak to the time he commences office as Father of the nation.

He vowed for the next six years to restore the people's trust and confidence in the government. He also said that the
campaign against drugs and criminality would be relentless and sustained within the bounds of the law. Since taking
office on June 30, 2016, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has carried out a war on drugs that has led to the deaths
of over 7,000 Filipinos to date. He further elucidated in his first speech as Chief Executive these messages: These were
battle cries articulated by me in behalf of the people hungry for genuine and meaningful change. But the change, if it is
to be permanent and significant, must start with us and in us. But as a lawyer and a former prosecutor, he knows the
limits of his power and authority as President.

Under Section 2 of the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002, repealing RA no. 6425, otherwise known as
the Dangerous Drugs Act of 1972:
-It is the policy of the State to safeguard the integrity of its territory and the well-being of its citizenry
particularly the youth, from the harmful effects of dangerous drugs on their physical and mental well-being. The
government shall pursue an intensive and unrelenting campaign against the trafficking and use of dangerous drugs and
other similar substances through an integrated system of planning, implementation and enforcement of anti-drug abuse
policies, programs, and projects.
-The government shall however aim to achieve a balance in the national drug control program so that people
with legitimate medical needs are not prevented from being treated with adequate amounts of appropriate
medications, which include the use of dangerous drugs.
-It is further declared the policy of the State to provide effective mechanisms or measures to re-integrate into society
individuals who have fallen victims to drug abuse or dangerous drug dependence through sustainable programs of
treatment and rehabilitation.

I know what is legal and what is not. My adherence to due process and the rule of law is uncompromising. You mind
your work and I will mind mine, he said.
The past tense was, I am here because I love my country and I love the people of the Philippines. I am here, why?
Because I am ready to start my work for the nation, he concluded

Large-scale extrajudicial violence as a crime solution was a marker of Dutertes 22-year tenure as mayor of Davao City
and the cornerstone of his presidential campaign. On the eve of his May 9, 2016 election victory, Duterte told a crowd of
more than 300,000: If I make it to the presidential palace I will do just what I did as mayor. You drug pushers, holdup
men, and do-nothings, you better get out because I'll kill you.
The Philippine Drug War refers to the policy against illegal drugs, initiated by the Philippine government under President
Rodrigo Duterte.
Rodrigo Duterte won the 2016 Philippine presidential election on May 9 promising to kill tens of thousands of criminals,
and urging people to kill drug addicts.[13] As Mayor of Davao City, Duterte was criticized by groups like Human Rights
Watch for the extrajudicial killings of hundreds of street children, petty criminals and drug users carried out by the
Davao Death Squad, a vigilante group with which he was allegedly involved.[14][15][16] Duterte has alternately
confirmed and denied his involvement in the alleged Davao Death Squad killings.[17]
According to official police documentation, Campaign Plan Project: "Double Barrel"[21][22] that has two-pronged
approach, Lower Barrel approach under Project Tokhang[23][22] or the famously known Oplan Tokhang (Cebuano for
tuktok, "knock", and hangyo, "persuade"[24]), and Upper Barrel approach under Project HVT (High Value
Targets)[23][22] that focuses on relatively more prominent drug personalities including politicians, police and military
personnel and other government employees.

In speeches made after his inauguration on June 30, Duterte urged citizens to kill suspected criminals and drug addicts.
He said he would order police to adopt a shoot-to-kill policy, and would offer them a bounty for dead suspects.[13] On

July 2, 2016, the Communist Party of the Philippines stated that it "reiterates its standing order for the NPA to carry out
operations to disarm and arrest the chieftains of the biggest drug syndicates, as well as other criminal syndicates
involved in human rights violations and destruction of the environment" after its political wing Bagong Alyansang
Makabayan accepted Cabinet posts in the new government. On July 3, 2016, the Philippine National Police said they had
killed 30 alleged drug dealers since Duterte was sworn in as president on June 30. They later stated they had killed 103
suspects between May 10 and July 7.

On July 9, 2016, a spokesperson of the president told critics to show proof that there have been human rights violations
in the Drug War. The situation likened to the dictatorship of Ferdinand Marcos. Later that day, the Moro Islamic
Liberation Front said it was open to collaborate with police in the Drug War.[31]

On August 3, 2016, Duterte said that the Sinaloa cartel and the Chinese triad are involved in the Philippine drug trade. A
presidential spokesperson said that Duterte welcomed a proposed Congressional investigation into extrajudicial killings
to be chaired by Senator Leila de Lima, his chief critic in the government.[32] On August 7, 2016, Duterte named more
than 150 drug suspects including local politicians, police, judges, and military.[33][34] On August 8, 2016 the United
States expressed concerns over the extrajudicial killings.[35]

On August 17, 2016, Duterte announced that de Lima had been having an affair with a married man, her driver, Ronnie
Palisoc Dayan. Duterte claimed that Dayan was her collector for drug money, who had also himself been using drugs.[36]

In a news conference on August 21, 2016, Duterte announced that he had in his possession wiretaps and ATM records
which confirmed his allegations. He stated: "What is really crucial here is that because of her [romantic] relationship
with her driver which I termed 'immoral' because the driver has a family and wife, that connection gave rise to the
corruption of what was happening inside the national penitentiary." Dismissing fears for Dayan's safety, he added, "As
the President, I got this information as a privilege. But I am not required to prove it in court. That is somebody else's
business. My job is to protect public interest. She's lying through her teeth." He explained that he had acquired the new
evidence from an unnamed foreign country.[37]

On August 18, 2016, United Nations human rights experts called on the Philippines to halt extrajudicial killings. Agnes
Callamard, the UN Special Rapporteur on summary executions, stated that Duterte had given a "license to kill" to his
citizens by encouraging them to kill.[38][39] In response, Duterte threatened to withdraw from the UN and form a
separate group with African nations and China. Presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella later clarified that the
Philippines was not leaving the UN.[40] As the official death toll reached 1,800, a Congressional investigation of the
killings chaired by de Lima was opened.[41]

On August 23, 2016, the Philippine human rights commission said that the International Criminal Court may have
jurisdiction over the mass killings.[42] On August 25, Duterte released a "drug matrix" supposedly linking government
officials, including de Lima, with the New Bilibid Prison drug trafficking scandal.[43] De Lima stated that the "drug
matrix" was like something drawn by a 12-year-old child. She added, "I will not dignify any further this so-called 'drug
matrix' which, any ordinary lawyer knows too well, properly belongs in the garbage can."[44][45]

On August 26, 2016, the official death total reached 2,000.[46] On August 29, Duterte called on de Lima to resign and
"hang herself".[47] In a speech Duterte rejected comparisons between his policies and those of the Islamic State or
Syrian President Bashar Assad.[48]

State of emergency[edit]
Following the September 2 bombing in Davao City that killed 14 people in the city's central business district, on
September 3, 2016, Duterte declared a "state of lawlessness", and on the following day signed a declaration of a "state
of national emergency on account of lawless violence in Mindanao".[49][50] The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP)
and the Philippine National Police (PNP) were ordered to "suppress all forms of lawless violence in Mindanao" and to
"prevent lawless violence from spreading and escalating elsewhere". Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea said that
the declaration "does not specify the imposition of curfews", and would remain in force indefinitely. He explained: "The
recent incidents, the escape of terrorists from prisons, the beheadings, then eventually what happened in Davao. That
was the basis."[51][50] The state of emergency has been seen as an attempt by Duterte to "enhance his already strong
hold on power, and give him carte blanche to impose further measures" in the Drug War.[52]

SeptemberDecember 2016[edit]
On September 5, 2016, with 2,400 people dead so far, Duterte repeated that "plenty will be killed" in the Drug War.[53]
On September 19, 2016, the Senate voted 16-4 to remove de Lima from her position heading the Senate committee, in a
motion brought by senator and boxer Manny Pacquiao.[56] Duterte's allies in the Senate argued that by allowing
Matobato's testimony, de Lima had damaged the country's reputation. She was replaced by Senator Richard
Gordon.[57] Duterte told reporters that he wanted "a little extension of maybe another six months" in the Drug War, as
there were so many drug offenders and criminals that he "cannot kill them all".[58][59] On the following day, a
convicted bank robber and two former prison officials testified that they had paid bribes to de Lima. She denies the

At a press conference on September 30, 2016, on his arrival in Davao City after a two-day official visit in Vietnam,[61]
Duterte appeared to make a comparison between the Drug War and The Holocaust.[62] He said that "Hitler massacred
three million Jews. Now there are three million drug addicts. Id be happy to slaughter them."[62] His remarks generated
an international outcry. US Secretary of Defense Ash Carter said the statement was "deeply troubling".[63][64] The
German government told the Philippine ambassador that Duterte's remarks were "unacceptable."[65] On October 2,
Duterte made an apology to the Jewish community following his remarks. He said that he did not mean to derogate the
memory of 6 million Jews slaughtered by the Germans.[66][67]

At the beginning of October, a senior police officer told The Guardian that 10 "special ops" official police death squads
had been operating, each consisting of 15 police officers. The officer said that he had personally been involved in killing
87 suspects, and described how the corpses had their head wrapped in masking tape with a cardboard placard labelling
them as a drug offender so that the killing would not be investigated, or they were dumped at the roadside ("salvage"
victims). The chairman of the Philippines Commission on Human Rights, Chito Gascon, was quoted in the report: "I am
not surprised, I have heard of this." The PNP declined to comment. The report stated: "although the Guardian can verify
the policeman's rank and his service history, there is no independent, official confirmation for the allegations of state
complicity and police coordination in mass murder."[68]
On October 28, 2016, incumbent Datu Saudi Ampatuan, Maguindanao Mayor Samsudin Dimaukom and nine others
(including his five bodyguards) were killed during what was described as a shootout by the police after they reportedly
engaged Dimaukom's group during an anti-illegal drug operation in Makilala, North Cotabato.[69][70] Dimaukom was
among the drug list named by Duterte on August 7.[71]

On November 1, 2016, it was reported that the US State Department had halted the sale of 26,000 assault rifles to the
PNP after opposition from the Senate Foreign Relations Committee due to concerns about human rights violations. A
police spokesman said they had not been informed. PNP chief Ronald dela Rosa suggested China as a possible
alternative supplier.[72][73] On November 7, Duterte reacted to the US decision to halt the sale by announcing that he
was "ordering its cancellation".[74]

In the early morning of November 5, 2016, incumbent Albuera, Leyte Mayor Rolando Espinosa Sr., who had been
detained at Baybay City Sub-Provincial Jail for violation of the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002, was killed in
what was described as a shootout inside his jail cell with personnel from the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group
(CIDG).[75] According to the CIDG, Espinosa opened fire on police agents who were executing a search warrant for
"illegal firearms."[76] A hard drive of CCTV footage which may have recorded the shooting of Espinosa is missing, a
provincial official said.[77] Espinosa had turned himself in to PNP after being named in Duterte's drug list in
August.[78][79] He was briefly released but then re-arrested for alleged drug possession. The president of the National
Union of People's Lawyers, Edre Olalia, told local broadcaster TV5 that the police version of events was "too contrived".
He pointed out that a search warrant is not required to search a jail cell. "Such acts make a mockery of the law, taunt
impunity and insult ordinary common sense." Espinosa was the second official to be killed in the Drug War.[80][81]

Following the incident, on the same day, Senator Panfilo Lacson sought to resume the investigation of extrajudicial
killings after it was suspended on October 3, 2016 by the Senate Committee on Justice and Human Rights.[82][83]

On November 28, 2016, Duterte appeared to threaten that human rights workers would be targeted: "The human rights
[defenders] say I kill. If I say: 'Okay, I'll stop'. They [drug users] will multiply. When harvest time comes, there will be
more of them who will die. Then I will include you among them because you let them multiply." Amnesty International
Philippines stated that Duterte was "inciting hate towards anyone who expresses dissent on his war against drugs." The
National Alliance against Killings Philippines stated: "His comment - that human rights is part of the drug problem and, as
such, human rights advocates should be targeted too - can be interpreted as a declaration of an open season on human
rights defenders".[84]

On December 8, 2016, the Senate Committee on Justice and Human Rights issued a report stating that there was "no
evidence sufficient to prove that a Davao Death Squad exists", and "no proof that there is a state-sponsored policy to
commit killings to eradicate illegal drugs in the country." Eleven senators signed the report, while senators Leila De Lima,
JV Ejercito, Antonio Trillanes IV and Senate Minority Leader Ralph Recto did not sign the report or did not subscribe to
its findings.[85]

JanuaryMay 2017[edit]
Kidnapping and killing of Jee Ick-Joo[edit]
Main article: Kidnapping and killing of Jee Ick-Joo
Following criticism of the Philippine National Police over the kidnapping and killing of Jee Ick-Joo, President Rodrigo
Duterte ordered the police to suspend any drug related operations while allowing the military and the Philippine Drug
Enforcement Agency to continue to conduct anti-illegal drug operations.
Amnesty International investigation[edit]
On January 31, 2017, Amnesty International (AI) published a report of their investigation of 59 drug-related killings in 20
cities and towns, "If you are poor you are killed": Extrajudicial Executions in the Philippines' "War on Drugs", which
"details how the police have systematically targeted mostly poor and defenceless people across the country while
planting 'evidence', recruiting paid killers, stealing from the people they kill and fabricating official incident reports."
They stated: "Amnesty International is deeply concerned that the deliberate, widespread and systematic killings of
alleged drug offenders, which appear to be planned and organized by the authorities, may constitute crimes against
humanity under international law."[86]

A police officer with the rank of Senior Police Officer 1, a ten-year veteran of a Metro Manila anti-illegal drugs unit, told
AI that police are paid 8,000 pesos (US $161) to 15,000 pesos (US $302) per "encounter" (the term used for extrajudicial
executions disguised as legitimate operations); there is no payment for making arrests. He said that some police also
receive a payment from the funeral home they send the corpses to. Hitmen hired by police are paid 5,000 pesos (US
$100) for each drug user killed and 10,000 to 15,000 pesos (US $200300) for each "drug pusher" killed, according to
two hitmen interviewed by AI.[86]

Family members and witnesses repeatedly contested the police description of how people were killed. Police
descriptions bore striking similarities from incident to incident; official police reports in several cases documented by
Amnesty International claim the suspects gun malfunctioned when he tried to fire at police, after which they shot and
killed him. In many instances, the police try to cover up unlawful killings or ensure convictions for those arrested during
drug-related operations by planting evidence at crime scenes and falsifying incident reportsboth practices the police
officer said were common.

Amnesty International report If you are poor you are killed: Extrajudicial Executions in the Philippines War on
The report makes a series of recommendations to Duterte and government officials and departments. If certain key
steps are not swiftly taken, it recommends that the International Criminal Court "initiate a preliminary examination into
unlawful killings in the Philippiness violent anti-drug campaign and related crimes under the Rome Statute, including
the involvement of government officials, irrespective of rank and status."[87]

The Guardian and Reuters stated that the report added to evidence they had published previously about police
extrajudicial executions. Presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella responded to the report, saying that Senate committee
investigations proved that there had been no state-sponsored extrajudicial killings.[88][89] In an interview on February
4, Duterte told a reporter that AI was "so naive and so stupid", and "a creation of [George] Soros". He asked, "Is that the
only thing you [de Lima] can produce? The report of Amnesty?"[90]

Universal Periodic Review[edit]

On May 5, 2017, Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano, a staunch ally of Pres. Duterte, led the 16-member Philippine delegation to
attend the UNs Universal Periodic Review to present the state of human rights in the Philippines and dispel reports that
killings linked to the drug war were state-sponsored. [91]

[Fake news] created a domino effect of the foreign media, picking up from news reports in the Philippines, which also
alerted human rights groups, which are also getting the wrong information

Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano[92]

Cayetano explained that of 9,432 total of homicide cases recorded under the Duterte administration, only 2,692 deaths
were from presumed legitimate law enforcement operations. He claimed that "in the past administrations, there was a
'low of 11,000 and a high of 16,000' cases of extra-judicial killings (EJKs).[92]

Some politicians such as Liza Maza of Bagong Alyansang Makabayan, allies of the government, and Ifugao congressman
Teodoro Baguilat, asked Duterte to investigate the killings.[93][94] Others have taken the opportunity to propose radical
new Senate bills to lower the age of criminal responsibility from 15 to 9, and to restore capital punishment.[20] Senator
Risa Hontiveros, an opponent of Duterte, claimed that the Drug War was a political manoeuvre intended to convince
people that "suddenly the historically most important issue of poverty was no longer the most important."[20] De Lima
expressed frustration with the attitude of Filipinos towards extrajudicial killing: "they think that it's good for peace and
order. We now have death squads on a national scale, but I'm not seeing public outrage."[20] According to a Pulse Asia
opinion poll conducted from July 2 to 8, 2016, 91% of Filipinos "trusted" Duterte.[95]

The Archbishop of Manila Luis Antonio Tagle acknowledged that people were right to be "worried about extrajudicial
killings", along with other forms of murder: abortion, unfair labor practices, wasting food and "selling illegal drugs,
pushing the youth to go into vices".[96]

The Chairman of the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Sergio Ortiz-Luis Jr., quelled fears that foreign
investors might be put off by the increasing rate of killings in the country, explaining at a press conference on September
19 that investors only care about profit: "They don't care if 50 percent of Filipinos are killing each other so long as
they're not affected".[97] On the following day the Wall Street Journal reported that foreign investors, who account for
half of the activity on the Philippine stock exchange, had been "hightailing it out of town", selling $500 million worth of
shares over the past month, putting pressure on the Philippine peso which was close to its weakest point since 2009.[98]

Dela Rosa announced on September 16 that the Drug War had "reduced the supply of illegal drugs in the country by
some 80 to 90 percent".[99] On September 26, he said that the Drug War was already being won, based on statistical
and observational evidence.[100] Aljazeera reported that John Collins, director of the London School of Economics
International Drug Policy Project, had a different assessment: "Targeting the supply side can have short-term effects.
However, these are usually limited to creating market chaos rather than reducing the size of the market. ... What you
learn is that you're going to war with a force of economics and the force of economics tends to win out: supply, demand
and price tend to find their own way." He said it was a "certainty" that "the Philippines' new 'war' will fail and society
will emerge worse off from it."[20]


Protest against the Philippine war on drugs in front of the Philippine Consulate General in New York City. The protesters
are holding placards which urge Duterte to stop killing drug users.
Gary Song-Huann Lin, the representative of Taiwan in the Philippines, welcomed Dutertes plan to declare a war against
criminality and illegal drugs. He said Taiwan is ready to help the Philippines combat cross-border crimes like human and
drug trafficking.[101] On July 19, 2016, Lingxiao Li, spokesman for the Chinese Embassy in Manila announced China's
support for the Drug War: "China fully understands that the Philippine government under the leadership of H. E.
President Rodrigo Duterte has taken it as a top priority in cracking down drug-related crimes. China has expressed
explicitly to the new administration China's willingness for effective cooperation in this regard, and would like to work
out a specific plan of action with the Philippine side." The statement made no reference to extrajudicial killings, and
called illegal drugs the "common enemy of mankind".[102][103][104] On September 27, the Chinese Ambassador Zhao
Jianhua reiterated that "Illegal drugs are the enemy of all mankind" in a statement confirming Chinese support for the
Duterte administration.[105]

The European Parliament expressed concern over the extrajudicial killings after a resolution on September 15, stating:
"Drug trafficking and drug abuse in the Philippines remain a serious national and international concern, note MEPs. They
understand that millions of people are hurt by the high level of drug addiction and its consequences in the country but
are also concerned by the 'extraordinarily high numbers killed during police operations in the context of an intensified
anti-crime and anti-drug campaign."[106] In response, at a press conference Duterte made an obscene hand gesture and
called British and French representatives "hypocrites" because their ancestors had killed thousands of Arabs and others
in the colonial era. He said: "When I read the EU condemnation I told them fuck you. You are doing it in atonement for
your sins. They are now strict because they have guilty feelings. Who did I kill? Assuming that its true? 1,700? How
many have they killed?"[107][108]

Indonesian National Police Chief General Tito Karnavian commented in regards to Indonesia's rejection of a similar policy
for Indonesia: "Shoot on sight policy leads to abuse of power. We still believe in presumption of innocence. Lethal
actions are only warranted if there is an immediate threat against officers... there should not be a deliberate attempt to
kill".[109] In September 2016 Budi Waseso, head of Indonesia's National Anti-Narcotics Agency (BNN), said that he was
currently contemplating copying the Philippines' hardline tactics against drug traffickers. He said that the Agency
planned a major increase in armaments and recruitment. An Agency spokesman later attempted to play down the
comments, stating: "We can't shoot criminals just like that, we have to follow the rules."[110]

On October 16, prior to Duterte's departure for a state visit to Brunei, the President said he would seek the support of
that country for his campaign against illegal drugs and Brunei's continued assistance to achieve peace and progress in
Mindanao.[111] This was responded positively from Brunei Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah in the next day according to
Philippine Foreign Affairs Secretary Perfecto Yasay Jr.[112] Malaysia's Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said
"he respect the method undertaken by the Philippine government as it is suitable for their country situation", while
stressing that "Malaysia will never follow such example as we have our own methods with one of those such as seizing
assets used in drug trafficking with resultant funds to be channelled back towards rehabilitation, prevention and
enforcement of laws against drugs".[113]

The International Criminal Court (ICC) chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda expressed concern, over the drug-related killings
in the country, on October 13.[114] In her statement, Bensouda said that the high officials of the country "seem to
condone such killings and further seem to encourage State forces and civilians alike to continue targeting these
individuals with lethal force."[115] She also warns that any person in the country who provoke "in acts of mass violence
by ordering, requesting, encouraging or contributing, in any other manner, to the commission of crimes within the
jurisdiction of ICC" will be prosecuted before the court.[116] About that, Duterte is open for the investigation by the ICC,
Malacaang said.[116]

On November 17, Sweden voiced their concerns over the continuous drug war. Its ambassador to the Philippines, Harald
Fries said As far as I know, the policies are stable and the rules are stable, but of course in Sweden as in many other
countries, there is some concern about the large number of killings going on in this country. I can't say anything more
than it is a concern, and we follow it and we trust that the Philippine government is investigating these killings. And
that's what we hear that the government is doing.[117]
On December 3 during a phone conversation between Duterte and then United States President-elect Donald Trump the
later called the government role in the "war on drugs" as done at "the right way".[118]

December 16 President Rodrigo Duterte and Singaporean President Tony Tan and Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong have
agreed to work together in the fight against terrorism and illegal drugs. In a meeting during a state visit both parties
discussed areas of cooperation between the two countries.[119]

On December 21 (PST), Grammy-winning American singer James Taylor posted on social media that he had cancelled his
concert in Manila, which was set for February 2017, citing the increasing number of deaths related to the country's drug

On December 24, U.S. Senators Marco Rubio, Edward Markey, and Christopher Coons expressed their concerns
regarding the alleged extrajudicial killings and human rights violations in Duterte's war on drugs. Through a letter sent to
the U.S. Department of State, they noted that instead of addressing the drug problem, investing in treatment programs
or approaching the issue with an emphasis on health, Duterte has "pledged to kill another 20,000 to 30,000 people,
many simply because they suffer from a drug use disorder." Rubio, Markey and Coons also questioned U.S. secretary of
state John Kerry's pledge of $32-million funding for training and other law-enforcement assistance during his visit to
Manila.[122][123] In May 2017, Senator Rubio, along with Senator Ben Cardin, filed a bipartisan bill in the U.S. Senate to
restrict the exportation of weapons from the U.S. to the Philippines.[124]

In February 2017, former Colombian President Csar Gaviria wrote an opinion piece on The New York Times to warn
Duterte and the administration that the drug war is "unwinnable" and "disastrous", citing his own experiences as the
President of Colombia. He also criticized the alleged extrajudicial killings and vigilantism, saying these are "the wrong
ways to go." According to former Colombian President Gaviria the war on drugs is essentially a war on people.[125]
Gaviria suggested that improving public health and safety, strengthening anti-corruption measures, investing in
sustainable development, decriminalizing drug consumption, and strengthening the regulation of therapeutic goods
would enhance supply and demand reduction. Duterte viciously reacted to Gaviria's criticism by calling him an "idiot"
while defending the approach in addressing the country's illegal drugs problem as well setting aside the issue of
extrajudicial killings.[126][127]

The following statistics are sourced from the Philippine Information Agency (as of 20 April 2017) and are contested by
different sources.[9]

Illegal drug use and trade:

Proliferation of drugs: 4 million drug addicts, estimated[9]
Illegal Drug Market: 120 billion drug industry, estimated[9]
War on drugs:
Police operation conducted: 53,503[9]
People arrested: 64,917[9]
Value of seized drugs and non-drug evidence: 14.49 billion[9]
Killed in legitimate police operations: 2,679[9][10]
Drug pushers voluntary surrendered: 88,940[9]
Drug users voluntary surrendered: 1,266,966[9]
Reduction in drug market: 26.45%[9]
Drug rehabilitation:
Accredited rehabilitation centers: 48[9]
Rehabilitated drug addicts and ready to go back to society: 10,500[9]
Index crime:
Reduction in index crime: 28.57%[9][128]
July 2015 to March 2016: 134,958[9]
July 2016 to March 2017: 96,398[9]
In popular media[edit]
The ongoing drug war has been subject to popular interpretation from various media outlets ranging from local to
international productions.

In March 2017, a National Geographic episode was aired featuring scenes and stories of the drug war.[129]

"Hustisya" is a rap song about the drug war which was created by local artists inspired by the death of their friend
immortalized in what is now known as Philippines Pieta.[130]

In April 11, 2017, The New York Times won a Pulitzer Prize for breaking news photography on their Philippine Drug war
report. The story was published on December 7, 2016, and was titled "They Are Slaughtering Us Like Animals".

A year on from the inauguration of President Rodrigo Duterte, his war on drugs has claimed the lives of more than
7,000 Filipinos, according to Human Rights Watch. Duterte won last years election with promises to rid the country of
drugs and crime, kill every drug dealer and user and to feed their corpses to the fish in Manila Bay. But despite the death
toll, which includes more than 2,500 killings by police and 3,600 by vigilantes, many Filipinos gloss over the murders, and
Dutertes poll ratings remain high
Since Duterte took office in late June, more than 6,000 people have been killed in his campaign to purge the Philippines
of illegal drugs and those associated with them, according to reliable estimates by local media. The victims-suspected
users and -pushersdo not enjoy due process, and they are always killed at night, sometimes inside their own homes.
The perpetrators are vigilantes, hired guns and likely cops too.

Duterte made no secret that this would happen. All of you who are into drugs, you sons of bitches, I will really kill you,
he said last April, a month before he was elected. It wasnt just campaign bluster. For 22 years Duterte had served as
mayor of the southern city of Davao, where he took a pathological approach to restoring order to the citys streets.
Under his leadership, the extrajudicial killings of suspected criminals and drug users in Davao by vigilantes was
practically state policy. In December, speaking to a group of business-people, Duterte admitted to personally killing a
few himself while he was mayor. The reaction of the international community has been one of outrage and reproach:
Zeid Raad al-Hussein, the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, said on Dec. 20 that Duterte should be
investigated for murder.

Dutertes fiercest critic is Senator Leila de Lima, a former Secretary of Justice who has attempted to wage a war in the
legislature against a strongman President who she says is actually rather meek. Duterte and his allies have struck back,
and de Lima fears impeachment, arrest or worse. But, she says, Will I stop fighting? Over my dead body

As I was writing this column I was watching a special report on Al Jazeera TV on the story of Italian Prosecutor Nino di
Matteo who was prosecuting the Mafia Bosses in Palermo, Italy. Prosecutor de Matteo had a bevy of bodyguards
surrounding him as he was getting threats on his life for prosecuting the Cosa Nostra. That particular trial was about the
attempt on the life of di Matteo. The Italian Carabinieri or Italian Police had uncovered the plot on his life and arrests
were made and the State trial was underway.
Why am I writing this? In my book, what is happening in this country resembles the fight of the Italian people against the
Mafia in Sicily a.k.a. La Cosa Nostra. When Pres. Rodrigo Digong Duterte exposed the five police generals who are
considered protectors of drug lords, he sounded like Italian Mafia Prosecutor Nino di Matteo. There are accusations in
this all-out war against illegal drugs, however the Filipino people are applauding Pres. Duterte for his courage and now
even those who disliked Pres. Duterte during the campaign are now praying for the Presidents safety.

The fears for the life of Pres. Duterte are real and watching that Al Jazeera report about the Mafia war in Palermo, Sicily
reminded me of what happened on May 23, 1992 when popular Italian Prosecutor Giovanni Falcone who fought the
powerful Mafia in Sicily was assassinated by the Corleonis Mafia. They planted a huge cache of explosives under the
main highway and blew him up to kingdom come. 57 days later, another anti-Mafia crusader Prosecutor Paolo Borsellino
and a friend of Falcone was also killed by a Mafia car bomb. This sparked a nationwide outrage in all of Italy to stop the
activities of the Mafia.

On the other hand, here in the Philippines since the assumption of Pres. Rodrigo Duterte to the presidency, the spate of
killings of people involved in illegal drugs may have alarmed many people, however there really is no general outrage
because only the dregs of society have been eliminated by the police. If at all, the people are at a loss whether the
people killed were silenced by the police or whether they were really killed in a shootout? As for now, we have to
accept that there is a sense of regularity when the police encounter these criminal elements.

If you have checked the social networking sites, many people fear for the life of Pres. Duterte because it is the first time
ever that a President of the Philippines used his political capital to go to war against illegal drugs. Sure his style maybe
unorthodox, but if trial by publicity would bring out these scum of society from their hiding places, then so be it. Mind
you, years ago, there was a Congressional hearing against many suspected drug lords, but it ended without any positive
result and in fact, it has emboldened those drug lords to spread their nefarious activities because even a Congressional
hearing did not result to anything! How things have changed since then!

In the meantime, we are eagerly waiting for the Department of Justice (DoJ) under Sec. Vitaliano Aguirre to step into the
plate and immediately conduct an investigation on the people who were named by Pres. Duterte. Hopefully by this
weekwe shall hear phase two of that expose, the names of 23 municipal or city mayors who may be involved as
protectors of the drug lords in their respective localities.

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Already in Cebu City, Mayor Tomas Osmea has been saying that he wont be surprised if his name would appear in
Pres. Dutertes list. Honestly, I dont think Mayor Osmea is involved in illegal drugs. At best his only fault is the sin of
omission, wherein Cebus number one drug lord, Jeffrey Jaguar Diaz (he was killed three weeks ago in Las Pias) was a
supporter of the Bando Osmea Pundok Kauswagan (BO-PK) the party of Mayor Osmea. He even said that Jaguar
offered him money to support his political campaign which he refused. So the question is, why did it take the Cebu City
police so long to investigate or arrest Jaguar? Then only when Pres. Duterte won as President, all of the sudden the
police moved against Jaguar and he ended being killed in a shootout with Cebu City and Las Pias Police.

He is only less than 15 days as President and already the war against illegal drugs has resulted in something
unimaginable where hundreds if not thousands of drug users, pushers or drug lords are surrendering in great numbers
and overwhelming the police headquarters. It is obvious that these persons involved in illegal drugs fear for their lives
and would rather surrender to authorities rather than meet St. Peter in the Pearly Gates sooner than later.

Im sure that Pres. Duterte did not expect that his war against drugs would end up with people en mass surrendering to
authorities. This is the positive side of this war. So do we even have enough rehabilitation centers to accommodate
these people? I doubt it! Perhaps the DSWD should find ways to help these people clean up their broken lives by this
cancer of society!

CEBU, Philippines - While some sectors are giving the current administrations fight against illegal drugs a thumbs down,
tourism stakeholders on the other hand, are keeping their hopes up that this particular campaign would have a
favorable impact in the long run.

"The fact that crime rate is down by at least 40 percent should be reassuring enough that the Philippines today is
becoming safer and safer to visit," said tourism capitalist Jay P. Aldeguer.

However, Aldeguer said that how the local and international media interprets drug related killings will be critical. "Right
now we are getting mixed reviews abroad."


Generally, however, Aldeguer believes that peace and order will be more evident under this administration in the next
few months and will surely be a big boost to tourism.

Cebu Association of Travel Agencies (CATO) president Edilberto Mendoza Jr., likewise foresees good impact of the
agressive stance of the government for restoring peace and order, specifically illegal drug related concerns, to have good
effect on the tourism trade of the Philippines.

According to Mendoza, Duterte's firm resolve on putting a stop to drugs and criminality sends positive signal that the
Philippines is shaping up in terms of improving the country's peace and order and safety environment for both residents
and tourists.

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"This will give confidence to our tourists," Mendoza added.

However, Mendoza expressed fears that the extra-judicial killing controversy, if not handled property, might result to a
negative impression from international travelers of the Philippines.

But for his part, Efren Belarmino, general manager of Plantation Bay Resort and Spa, said that Duterte's fearless stance
against illegal drug related issues, which will eventually led to improved crime rate and safetiness of the country
provides good impression to both domestic and international travelers.

WHILE some sectors have criticized the body count in the governments war on drugs and crime, some tourism
stakeholders believe the stand helps promote the country as a safer destination for foreign tourists. The fact that crime
rate is down by at least 40 percent should be reassuring enough that the Philippines today is becoming safer and safer to
visit, said tourism advocate Jonathan Jay Aldeguer of the Islands Group. Now how the local and international media
interprets drug-related killings will be critical. Right now, we are getting mixed reviews abroad. Generally, however, I
feel that peace and order will be more evident under this administration in the next few months and will surely be a big
boost to tourism, he added. Safe destination Efren Belarmino, general manager of Plantation Bay Resort and Spa, said
the new administrations war against crime will have a positive effect in attracting more tourists to visit, as it paints a
picture that the Philippines is a safe place. Safety and security are important for tourists when choosing a holiday
destination, said Belarmino. The number of crimes recorded last July across the country dropped by about 49 percent
compared to last year, according to the Philippine National Police (PNP). Crime volume in the first seven months of the
year went down by 9.8 percent to 50,817, from 56,339 in the same period last year. War on drugs The Duterte
administrations war on crime earned criticism over the spate of extrajudicial killings in the country sparked by its
intensified campaign against illegal drugs. Somehow these extrajudicial killings have an impact on international
tourism. Killings, no matter how good the intention, always leave a negative impression, said Cebu Association of Tour
Operators (Cato) president Edilberto Mendoza Jr. Cato is working with the Department of Tourism (DOT) to divert the
attention of the international community from extrajudicial killings to other major events soon to happen in the
Philippines. Tourism promotion One of these is the Miss Universe pageant next year, where Cebu will get to host the
swimwear competition. Tourism Secretary Wanda Teo last Friday downplayed the effect of these killings on the
countrys tourism promotion. She told reporters shed rather focus on campaigning for more tourists to visit to the
Philippines than dwell on such issues, knowing that cases like these are not isolated to the country. There are terrorism
activities happening in other countries, said Teo. The DOT targets to welcome six million foreign tourists by the end of
2016. It hopes to add one million foreign arrivals per year until 2022.

Martial law should be extended

1987 Philippine Constitution