Drug war deaths increased during COVID-19 lockdown – Human Rights Watch | Inquirer News

Drug war deaths increased during COVID-19 lockdown – Human Rights Watch

By: - Reporter / @ConsINQ
/ 11:02 PM September 09, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — More people died in anti-drug operations nationwide in four months of the COVID-19 pandemic than in a similar period shortly before, according to Human Rights Watch, a New York-based international group.

From April to July 2020, during the pandemic, 155 people were killed in anti-drug operations, which is almost 50 percent higher than the 103 deaths recorded from December 2019 to March 2020, Carlos Conde, researcher of HRW Asian Division, said, citing data from the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA).

“Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte administration’s bloody ‘war on drugs’ worsened during the COVID-19 lockdown, according to the government’s own statistics,” Conde said in a statement issued on Tuesday.


“Police killed 50 percent more people between April to July 2020 than they did in the previous four-month period,” he added.


As of July 2020, a total of 5,810 people have killed in narcotics operations conducted by the Philippine National Police (PNP) since President Rodrigo Duterte’s bloody drug war began in July 2016.

“The PDEA’s figure of 5,810 killed only covers deaths in police anti-drug operations. Thousands of other drug suspects have been killed by unidentified assailants, many of whom are believed to be plainclothes police officers or vigilantes operating in coordination with local authorities,” Conde said.

“The Human Rights Council should once again tackle the issue of rights abuses in the Philippines when it convenes this month. The government is expected to continue to deny the allegations rather than offer a constructive response,” he added.

“But as the government’s own statistics show, the atrocities in the ‘drug war’ have worsened, even as the country suffers the worst in the region from the pandemic,” he said.

More drug war deaths in GCQ?

Based on the PDEA records, more persons were killed in anti-drug operations while a less strict coronavirus quarantine was in effect.

From June to July 2020, there were 88 deaths during anti-drug operations — 21 more than the 67 deaths recorded from April to May 2020.


A less restrictive general community quarantine was first imposed last June 1 in Metro Manila and nearby areas to help revive the economy.

The rest of Luzon were placed under an enhanced community quarantine until April 30. The strict lockdown further extended in high-risk areas from May 1 to 15.

It was from May 16 until 31 when most areas shifted to modified enhanced community quarantine.

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TAGS: Carlos Conde, HRW, PDEA, PNP‎

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