Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Duterte’s War on Drugs

This Blog Was Written by 
Aijo De Castro

More than 7500 people have died in Philippine President Duterte’s "War on Drugs". The Philippines is experiencing chaotic, bloody and horrendous extra-judicial killings. The President’s campaign has stripped poor Filipinos of their human rights. The President believes that criminals don’t have human rights. He states “if you are a criminal, you have no humanity. You deserve to die and burn in hell.” 

In Duterte’s eyes drug users and criminals should be killed. He gave an executive order to kill addicts. “If you know of any addicts, go ahead and kill them yourself, as getting their parents to do it would be too painful.” He the protector of the people however, the commander-in-chief has failed to protect civil rights.  To him the poor are mere pawns that could and should be sacrificed. Hence, the administration’s War on Drugs does not only violate civil rights but also creates a façade that conceals the corrupt and malicious mischiefs of its reign.

The general population has agreed that Mr. Presidents “War on Drugs” is nothing but a class war. According to recent surveys “3 out of 5 Filipinos believe that only the poor are killed… 60% agreed – 33 % strongly believed, and 27% somewhat agreed that  "the rich drug pushers are not killed; only the poor ones are killed.” (Philstar). 
However, the supporters of the president believe that the killings of thousands is just collateral damage of a new, reformed society. They believe that all the innocent lives that are lost were for a greater cost. The campaign supports killings done by hitman, militias, and those who possess money and power. There is no due process that takes place, nothing but death to those who are accused - the Skwaters (a local term for slum dwellers) …

The severity of the extrajudicial killings is out of control, bodies of alleged drug users, drug pushers and criminals are seen lifeless on the streets of the slums. One of many heartbreaking examples is the death of a father of six. Mr. Manosca, a poor pedicab driver was once a drug user. Over the years he has halted the use of drugs as his family was growing and he wasn’t able to afford the addiction. One Sunday evening, “Elizabeth remembers that evening earlier in December ... from the darkness, gunfire tore through the plywood they used as walls. Domingo was killed. Another bullet struck Francisco in the forehead as he slept nearby” (CNN). As if the tragic loss she had isn’t enough, her bills are piling and her children are hungry. The family is in worse shape in terms of emotional, physical and financial status. With the loss of the bread winner, the family can only rely on donations, their future is jeopardies. Elizabeth is not only a widow, but now she must act as the bread winner to her family of four. 

To some, if not most of her neighbors, her loss is part of attaining better and safer streets- “Santo Niño residents say their streets are safer now. The drug-pushers and users who once plagued this area, and so many others like it, have been removed — jailed and are killed…(Philstar) In the Filipino slums these occurrences are part of daily life. 

The administration has no intentions of stopping its War on Drugs. It will last until the last day of the President's according to the president.  Not even the most well known public activist can stop the bloodshed. It is too late, for the president deems himself as the new Hitler. 

It may have seemed that the focus of the War on Drugs is simply to eliminate criminals, I beg to differ. Truly there must be an underlying agenda to this catastrophe. It seems the public officials and corruption are to be blame.  Many of the deaths on this War on Drugs case are not justified. The killers, are yet to be known. Mostly because they have been subjected to police brutality and are being covered up by the officials. Anybody can be killed, if there is slight suspicion of drug activity. Some are killed because of political, financial or personal reasons. There is leaked evidence that suggests the use of false and planted evidence against the alleged criminals. 

With the decreasing amount of poor people more land opens in the slum. Relocating the slum occupants is one of the few promises the President gave in his campaign. “I will move you, give me a year and I will relocate you… don’t worry there will not be demolition without relocation” he stated

The slum areas near Manila are of great economical and strategic value. Recentl foreign investors such as China have come. China, is known to have disputes with the Philippines over a few islands in the South China Sea. However, the relationship between the two countries is growing as multiple investment contractsand joint ventures have been signed by the two countries -contracts that involve industrialization and road work that affects the slums. Thus a land grabbing agenda that is hidden under the controversial drug war.

The Philippines is on the verge of being a complete dictatorship. The unconscionable violation of civil rights is alarming. The majority of Rodrigo Duterte’s supporters are being brainwashed by propaganda. It is time for the United Nations to act, to halt a fascist regime. There are 12 million Filipinos living in poverty, 12 million lives that are in great danger.

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