Philippines War on drugs

Linus Guardian Escandor II is an Independent Photojournalist and Documentary Photographer currently living in Manila, Philippines. He focuses on themes of environment, health, social and human rights issues.

Rodrigo Roa Duterte became President of the Philippines on June 30, 2016. Come election day, 16 million gave him their votes. In return, he gave them his word. The President’s intensified campaign against illegal drugs also prodded the Philippine National Police to cleanse its own ranks as the Chief Executive disclosed the names of incumbent officials who were alleged protectors of drug lords.

Death in these photographs came in many faces: suspected drug pushers being shot in a drug raid; man dumped under the bridge by unknown assailants, and druggies killed on railroad tracks. Some corpses have been deprived of their faces. To further shock the public, assassins wrap their victims' heads with packaging tapes before dumping them on the streets for everyone to see. And to further humiliate the victims, cardboards that bore the words ‘I’m a pusher, don’t be like me’ or ‘I’m a drug addict’ were thrown beside their bodies.

Human rights groups and lawmakers expressed alarm over the snowballing incidence of so-called extrajudicial killings and summary executions of suspected 'drug' criminals. Calls for justice and to end the culture of impunity intensified.

Despite of these killings, most Filipinos still believe that President Rodrigo Duterte can fulfill his promises to cleanse the country from the ill effects of drugs and criminality.  In the survey conducted from June 15 to 21, Pulse Asia said Duterte enjoys an approval rating of 88 percent and a trust rating of 87 percent.  Duterte got an approval rating of 80 percent and a trust rating of 82 percent in the January 2018 survey of Pulse Asia.

Likewise, the President is very passionate in fulfilling his battlecry, in which he openly states that “ Even if it will cost to lose his Presidency and his life for as long as there are people who will destroy his country he will aggressively continue to fulfill his promises ”. However, the killing continues. As a result, the Filipino people are divided into principles because of differences the way they see the President approaches in cleansing his country on the war on drugs. While others look forward to a better tomorrow for the next generation to have a drug free country.