Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte vowed that he was going to clean-up the drug problem in the country and it's said that many people voted to have him elected because they wanted to see something done about the worsening situation. “We will not stop until the last drug lord...and the last pusher have surrendered or are put either behind bars or below the ground, if they so wish,” Duterte previously stated. And he has been on a recent crackdown ever since taking office and it's one that is said to have cost thousands of people their lives.
The police themselves are responsible for killing hundreds and they say that vigilantes are responsible for others. Duterte made it quite clear that he was going to be coming for them and he wasn't kidding. “All of you who are into drugs, you sons of bitches, I will really kill you,” he stated prior to the election. He also went so far as to offer rewards to citizens who took it upon themselves to target and kill drug dealers.
The government has been criticized for seemingly displaying a sick level of pride over the death toll, and their drug crackdown overall. A Philippine police report said that the government's war on drugs had been highly appreciated and supported by the public. Duterte has vowed that the bloodshed will continue for the rest of his presidency which is expected to last the next six years.
“Do your duty, and if in the process you kill 1,000 persons because you were doing your duty, I will protect you,..... If you know of any addicts, go ahead and kill them yourself as getting their parents to do it would be too painful,” - Duterte has said.
The President has instigated a wave of new violence throughout the country, with vigilantes being encouraged by the leader to attack whoever they suspect to be a drug users or sellers. It is a war against victimless crimes and against personal choice. Duterte also recently warned the international community to stay out of the matter. Human Rights Watch has condemned the violence, calling it a “shocking human toll” and they accuse the leader of inciting violence in the nation.
Leaders and police in the Philippines want to credit the recent slaughter with bringing down overall crime rates, but of course murders and homicides have increased dramatically. One of the president's biggest rivals, Senator Leila De Lima, was recently removed from her inquiry role and she herself is now a subject of inquiry by the government.
A former Filipino militiaman also testified before the Senate recently and admitted that President Duterte, before he was elected and back when he was only city mayor, was allegedly guilty of ordering him and other members of a liquidation squad to kill criminals and opponents.
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