Philippines war against drugs

Philippines - War on drugs
Surrenders and victims under President Duterte iron fist
Photos: Marco Leonardi
On June 30th Rodrigo Duterte took office as President of The Philippines, and on the very same day he started a brutal war against drugs. PNP (Philippine National Police) official numbers tell a lot: after four months 2,236 persons were killed, 57% of them during PNP operations, 35% by unidentified people and the 8% were found dead far from the scene of a crime.

This war is based mainly on 'Tokhang' (from Visayan words 'Toktok', to knock, and "Hangyo", to request), a national law enforcement project meant to invite people involved in drug trafficking or use to turn themselves in. On October 29th 2016, the number of people who "surrendered" to the police ("surrenders" is how they're called in police reports) is around 700,000.

President Duterte must be given the credit to be dealing with a problem that has been plagueing the Philippines for a lot of time, a problem that no one of the presidents after dictator Marcos really faced with facts. The people support the president, in some areas he's supported by 90% of Philippines citizens.

The poorest part of the population is suffering the worst effects of the 'Tokhang' project, anyway. Extremely violent operations are held mostly in the poorest suburbs of towns, and are often performed by masked vigilantes. Human rights organisations united in a coalition, iDEFEND, offer assistance and ask the government to stop extrajudicial killings. iDEFEND proposes to adopt an holistic approach to drugs problems, a path allowing drug addicts to start a rehabilitation in new specific facilities to come up beside the 44 existing ones, now overcrowded. In fact, the Department of Health estimates a quote of "surrenders" between 1% and 10% to be in need of a rehab process.
Philippines war against drugs
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