Since Rodrigo Duterte took office in the Philippines in June, rarely does a night go by without dozens of bullet-riddled bodies being discovered in the streets of Manila. The new president has embarked on a merciless war on drug traffickers and drug users. More than 5,000 people have already lost their lives, gunned down by police or civilians taking the law into their own hands. And the Philippine president does not intend to stop there. Our team reports.
During his election campaign, Rodrigo Duterte, who is accustomed to making shock statements, had promised to fill the country’s morgues to bursting. This was no bluff. The new Philippine president has embarked on a merciless war on drugs, one that involves physically eliminating all drug users and traffickers. The body count is mounting and is now in the thousands.
According to official figures, since Duterte took office more than 5,000 people have lost their lives in police operations or in the settling of scores. That’s because in the Philippines, it’s not just the police who are enforcing the anti-drugs campaign. Hired killers or armed self-defence groups are also suspected of targeting traffickers and even ordinary drug users. They are deemed responsible for two-thirds of the killings.
This mob justice is encouraged by Duterte himself. The Philippine leader urges citizens to take up arms against drug consumers and traffickers. In a chilling twist, he even promises a bonus of several thousand pesos for each offender executed.
Our reporters Ophélie Giomataris and Marianne Dardard have been investigating the Philippines’ ruthless war on drugs.