UP report: More drug killings under Marcos than Duterte’s last year
MANILA, Philippines — There were more drug-related deaths during President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.’s first year in office than during Rodrigo Duterte’s last year as chief executive, an independent watchdog said, challenging Marcos’ promise for a more “holistic, rights-based” approach to the drug war.
Over the weekend, the University of the Philippines Third World Studies Center (UP TWSC) released its first report of the Marcos administration for the “Dahas” project, which keeps a tally of media-recorded killings related to the war on drugs in time for Marcos’ second State of the Nation Address on Monday.
“At the start of his term, people were asking: How different will the war against illegal drugs be under the Marcos administration compared to the Duterte administration? The 342 drug-related deaths under the first year of [Marcos] give us the answer: Not much,” the report said.
UP TWSC started this project in 2021 as a way to monitor the continued killings under the drug war, which is now being investigated by the International Criminal Court.
Based on its monitoring from July 1, 2022, to June 30, 2023, there were 342 people killed during the Marcos administration, the Dahas team said. In contrast, 302 people were killed during Duterte’s final year.
More significantly, there were twice as many “body dump” cases under Marcos’ first year: 26 cases of victims killed then dumped in secluded areas or on the streets compared to Duterte’s 13.
Among the more alarming patterns, the UP TWSC team said, was Davao del Sur’s “sudden emergence” as a killing hotspot, with one person being killed every week.
In Duterte’s last year, the report said, only one killing was recorded in the province. But under Marcos, the number surged to 53, or 15 percent of the total fatalities.
Cebu came in second with 44 recorded deaths during Marcos’ first year. But whereas most deaths in Davao del Sur were committed by state agents, 43 out of the 44 killed in the province last year were killed by unknown assailants.
The current Davao City mayor is Duterte’s son, Sebastian “Baste” Duterte.
The current numbers, the team said, “seem to grant the wish of Duterte” for his predecessor to continue the drug war, as it “also belies the public remarks of Marcos” to pivot to a more even-handed approach.