HRW says Duterte plunged PHL into worst rights crisis since Marcos

International non-governmental organization, human rights watchdog Human Rights Watch (HRW) said in its World Report 2018, events of 2017, said “President Rodrigo Duterte has plunged the Philippines into its worst human rights crisis since the dictatorship of Ferdinand Marcos in the 1970s and 1980s.”

“His “war on drugs,” launched after he took office in June 2016, has claimed an estimated 12,000 lives of primarily poor urban dwellers, including children,” HRW said.

HRW said Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) data shows Philippine National Police (PNP) operations resulted in the deaths of 3,906 suspected drug users and dealers from July 1, 2016, to September 26, 2017.

“But unidentified gunmen have killed thousands more, bringing the total death toll to more than 12,000, according to credible media reports,” it added.

“A Human Rights Watch investigation found that the Philippine National Police and its agents have repeatedly carried out extrajudicial killings of drug suspects, and then falsely claimed self-defense,” it added.

“In October, responding to a public outcry against killings notably committed against children, Duterte removed police from anti-drug operations, assigning the PDEA as the main agency to carry out the drug war,” HRW said.

“However, journalists who closely cover the anti-drug campaign say that although the killings by uniformed police personnel have declined since that time, summary killings by “vigilantes” have continued uninterrupted,” it added.