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.


Full Episodes

Upcoming Airdates

Adapting to Climate Change

Climate change affects us all, and less-developed communities, that are more closely tied to the land, often suffer more directly from environmental transformation. The changes include dramatic fluctuation of water sources, diminishing crop yields, and failure of long-held farming techniques. Discover how community leaders are adjusting, engaging with the international community and seeking innovative methods and new technologies to find sustainable ways of living.

Searching for Home

Immigrants around the world face unbelievable challenges on their journey searching for a new place to call home. While much of the reporting focuses on the backlash refugees face from their new host nations, many communities are opening their arms and minds.

Background image: Feryal Aldahash looks down on her third daughter Valgerour Halla at their home in Reykjavik, Iceland. January 8 2017. | Thomson Reuters Foundation/Filippo Brachetti

  • 2020-10-30T06:30:00-07:00
    Link TV

Breaking Gender Stereotypes

People all over the world are confronting traditional norms around gender and sexuality that are difficult to break. Despite opposition and discrimination from their communities, these people are armed with the courage to truly be themselves. The small steps people take to assert their role in society, can result in major leaps for future generations.

Storytelling Across the Globe

Virtual reality experiences, comic books, and architectural mapping are all forms of storytelling being used by artists and activists around the world to raise awareness of social problems. From calling out sexual assault in India to documenting war crimes in Gaza, these modes of communication are connecting people to issues across the world.

The Resilience of Children

The future of our communities lies in protecting our most vulnerable yet most resilient members: our children. But often, children are the first victims of war and poverty. Many face horrifying events and live with the trauma for the rest of their lives. Despite this, some children survive these events to become leaders of their communities and voices for peace.

  • 2020-11-18T16:30:00-08:00
    Link TV

Taboo Health Issues

Many communities around the world see disease and mental illness not as something to be treated, but as something to be feared. As a result, many suffering from curable conditions are stigmatized within their communities. But through education and organizing, some people are challenging these stigmas and addressing previously taboo health issues.