Philippines’ Rodrigo Duterte Sustains Support For Deadly Battle On Drugs
Enlarge this photo toggle caption Ezra Acayan/AP Ezra Acayan/AP
In the Philippines, President Rodrigo Duterte has maintained support for his bloody war on drugs, despite the thousands of lives lost and criticism by human rights groups.
Duterte offers remained popular because most people in the country aren’t directly affected by deadly drug war, which is mostly being waged found in the inner cities.
Since taking office last year, Duterte continues to carry out his pledge to kill every medication supplier and user in the country. Human rights groups declare the deadly extra-judicial war has left more than 13,000 persons dead.
Despite the growing violence and international criticism, Duterte’s overall approval ratings inside the Philippines didn’t begin to slide until recently, when a new poll advised his popularity dropped to 48 percent, CNN reported.
“Third quarter info tells us that 7 to 8 away of 10 Filipinos continue to support the war on medicines,” Dindo Manhit, president of Stratbase ADR Institute, a Manila think tank, told NPR’s Michael Sullivan in an interview this week.
Duterte’s violent advertising campaign has centered on the poorest areas of the capital metropolis, Manila, says Sheila Coronel, co-founder of the Philippine Centre for Investigative Journalism and a professor in the Columbia Journalism School.
“If you are an unhealthy Filipino moving into the slum of Manila … then you feel really nervous,” she tells Below & Now’s Jeremy Hobson. “You feel insecure. You feel that you could be targeted whether you are a drug user.”
In fighting the medication war, Coronel says police rely on each village to devise a watch list of sellers and suspected users. Police officers aim for those on the list, often killing persons in the dead of night.
The Deadly Expense Of Duterte’s Battle On Drugs Listen · 4:41 4:41
“They say these persons who’ve been killed by the authorities at night have mainly fought back, but the reality is that very few policemen have been killed. There is quite few policemen who’ve been wounded,” Coronel says. “It’s an extremely one-sided fight. It’s really a war against the poorest and most vulnerable sectors of the population.”
Coronel explains that a lot of Filipinos who live beyond urban areas are actually separated from the violence.
“If you are in the middle class neighborhood or if you live beyond the big locations where drug dealing is rampant, then you happen to be completely inured from it,” she says. “You do not hear about it if you don’t hear, if you don’t watch television.”
In a televised address previous month, Duterte ordered the Philippine National Force to end all operations linked to the medicine war. Since that time, the killings have not completely stopped, Coronel says, and the latest polls still show broad support for the medication war.
“When you understand this president, he is usually focused on this war on medicines. It features its excesses. But I don’t check out any end of it as of this moment,” Manhit says. “But one year after, you want to see, genuinely, successes – there are less medicines on the streets. Syndicates are becoming brought down – but not killings of ordinary persons.”
During his check out to Manila this kind of week, President Trump didn’t publicly acknowledge the concern of human rights and the drug war. In a leaked transcript of an April telephone call with Duterte, Trump praised the Filipino leader, saying he was undertaking “an unbelievable job on the medication problem.”
Coronel suggests Duterte offers had the opportunity to maintain support as a result of his strong ties to Mindanao, the second largest island located in the southern Philippines. She says residents there who’ve historically felt marginalized by the Filipino federal government think represented by Duterte, who is the 1st president from Mindanao.
“People from Mindanao always complained about what they contact ‘Manila colonialism,’ ” Coronel says. “They feel Manila is an imperial power simply as Perhaps any other much flung province of a region would feel that they don’t have the focus. They don’t get yourself a fair share of the nation’s resources or the focus of the national federal government.”
Duterte includes a much-maligned history of cracking straight down on medicines. When he won the presidential election last year, Duterte touted his 20 years as mayor of Davao in Mindanao in his assurance to rid the country of drugs and crime. But mainly because The Guardian studies, Davao still gets the highest murder rate in the country and the second highest amount of rapes.
The scope of Duterte’s vicious war in the Philippines echoes that first violent campaign in Davao. When he purchased the 1st death squad to focus on drug sellers and users in 1989, he allegedly told cops: “Throw them in the ocean or the quarry. Make it tidy. Make sure there happen to be no traces of the bodies.”