Altair Guimarães

An Analysis of Filipino President Duterte's War On Drugs

More than 7,600 people have been killed during Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte’s national crackdown on drugs. More than 2,500 of these deaths were in raids or stings that police said ended in shoot-outs.

Human rights groups have raised concerns about the killings, but Duterte says he cares little for drug dealers. "You bleed for those sons of a bitch. How many? 3,000? I will kill more if only to get rid of drugs and this campaign," he said.

“It’s difficult to understand why President Duterte hates drugs so much, but he never stops talking about them,” Dr Tom Smith of the University of Portsmouth, an expert on Filipino politics, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation recently in an interview at London’s Frontline Club.

The drug wars made the news again this week when Duterte's police chief ordered the Philippine National Police to suspend their anti-drugs operations, after the killing of a South Korean businessman by rogue drug-squad police.

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said on Thursday that he would issue an executive order for military support in his fight against illicit drugs, which he said was a national security threat and he would "kill more" people if he had to.

In this video Smith provides some background on the drug war and tells us he believes that it is a continuation of a policy that Duterte first implemented on his native island of Mindanao, where it gained him great popularity, and which he has now exported to the capital.

“This is a cheap policy,” Smith explains. "Alleviating poverty is incredibly difficult. Corruption is endemic. He’s gone after the cheap and easy target and it’s having disastrous consequences."

Frontline Insight is an opinion series from the Thomson Reuters Foundation in which speakers from the Frontline Club in London share their views on a range of subjects.

Category:

Full Episodes

Upcoming Airdates

One Man, One City, Three Evictions

Rio de Janeiro has experienced several waves of development in the past century. For Altair Guimaraes the changes have affected him directly. Brought up in a favela, he has been evicted three times as a result of Rio’s developments. As Brazil tries to gain global recognition and increase tourism, locals like Altair are forced to relocate despite property titles. Now, their struggles are becoming a symbol of a global phenomenon.

Women's Work

Women from all over the world are trailblazing through gender barriers in difficult and often dangerous environments. They are defying cultural norms and finding ways to pursue their dreams and change their future. The women featured in this episode are giving a new meaning to the term “women’s work.”

Colombia’s Ghosts of War

The 52-year Colombian civil war is not ending without leaving deep scars. As rebels hand over weapons, an entire generation of Colombians are emerging from the conflict to rebuild their nation. While some are struggling more than others, many citizens are rolling up their sleeves to clear out the ghosts of war.

Life In Refugee Camps

More than a political buzzword, refugees are real people with real fears driving their decisions, and they take great risks to protect their families. A glimpse into the lives of immigrants living in refugee camps reveals their hunger for human rights and an opportunity to start over.

What You Can Do

Learn more about the topics covered in this episode with the following organizations: