Human rights crisis in Philippines intensified amid drug war – HRW
MANILA, Philippines — The human rights crisis in the Philippines has ‘deepened’ in 2018 as the bloody war on drugs continued under the Duterte administration, Human Rights Watch (HRW) said in a report on Thursday.
“The human rights crisis in the Philippines unleashed since President Rodrigo Duterte took office in June 2016 deepened in 2018 as Duterte continued his murderous war on drugs in the face of mounting international criticism,” HRW said in its recent 674-page annual World Report.
The human rights organization also cited that Duterte urged more summary executions of drug suspects “but often of people guilty of no more than being poor young men.”
HRW also cited that the statistics of deaths in the drug war was “difficult to ascertain” because the government failed to disclose official documents about the drug war.
Records from the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) showed that 4,948 drug suspects were killed in police operations from July 1, 2016 to September 30, 2018.
But this statistics did not include the thousands of others killed by unidentified gunmen, HRW pointed out.
Meanwhile, the Philippine National Police (PNP) recorded 22,983 deaths, which it classified as ‘homicides under investigation.’
Aside from the drug war, the HRW report specified that Duterte also sought to silence his staunch critics through various means.
HRW said the critics include Senator Leila de Lima, who remained in detention due to “politically motivated” drug charges; former Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno, who was ousted from her position and Senator Antonio Trillanes IV, who is facing several criminal charges. / gsg