20 april 2024

Marcos government’s ‘bloodless’ drug war a lie

Larah Vinda Del Mundo and Vincent Halog

It was supposed to be the biggest drug haul in Philippine history—then it was not. It was supposed to be a “bloodless” drug war—it never was.

When the news broke that 1.8 tons (initial estimate was 2 tons) of shabu said to be valued at PHP 13.3 billion was confiscated by the Philippine National Police at a checkpoint in Alitagtag, Batangas in the morning of 16 April, Malacañang quickly went to work. That no one died or was injured in the drug bust fitted perfectly in the “bloodless” drug war narrative that the Marcos Jr. administration has been pushing for quite some time.

11 January 2024

The 2023 Dahas Report: The casualties of Marcos’s “bloodless” drug war

Joel F. Ariate Jr. and Larah Vinda Del Mundo

Did drug-related killings suddenly stop in 2023 under the Marcos administration?

On January 3, 2024, the Presidential Communications Office issued a news release referencing a report from the Philippine National Police (PNP) touting the administration’s achievements “under President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr.’s new approach to address the menace.” The piece highlighted the “PhP10.41 billion worth of illegal drugs” that the government confiscated in 2023 and that it has, for the year, “cleared more than 27,000 barangays of narcotics.”

There was no mention of those the Marcos administration killed in its drug war, notwithstanding its rhetoric on repeat that is trying out “new approach to address illegal drugs by focusing on rehabilitation, reintegration, and preventive education programs specifically for the youth.” This is consistent with what President Marcos’s allies in Congress have tried to sell to the public that the Marcos war on drugs is “bloodless.”

Yet news reports from the ground as gathered by our Dahas project and a report from the chief of the PNP himself, offer a grim reminder that drug-related killings continue and that the government is responsible for almost half of it.

24 October 2023

Who says Marcos war on drugs is ‘bloodless’?

Joel F. Ariate Jr. and Larah Vinda Del Mundo

Newspaper reports quoting members of Congress are describing Pres. Ferdinand Marcos’ war on drugs as “bloodless” which are negated by what is happening on the ground.

Since Marcos took office on June 30, 2022, inheriting Duterte’s bloody drug war, until October 15, 2023, the Dahas Project of the Third World Studies Center of the University of the Philippines Diliman has recorded 438 drug-related killings in 471 days or almost one killing a day.

Of these killings, 195 were casualties in anti-illegal drug operations of various state agencies, mainly those of the Philippine National Police (PNP), and to a lesser extent, of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA). Davao City, stronghold of the Dutertes, is the country’s top hotspot for drug-related killings.

28 july 2023

Drug-related killings in Davao City belie Marcos’ ‘New Face’ approach in fight vs illegal drugs

Marion Abilene R. Navarro and Nixcharl C. Noriega

Davao City has emerged as the top hotspot for drug-related killings, a report by the University of  the Philippines Third World Studies showed. Out of the 342 drug-related casualties recorded in the first year of the Marcos administration (July 1, 2022 – June 30, 2023) 53 or 15% were concentrated in Davao City in Davao del Sur, at an average of one killed per week, topping all other provinces in the country such as Cebu with 44, and Metro Manila with 41.

4 june 2023

The killings have not stopped

Nixcharl C. Noriega and Marion Abilene R. Navarro

Rodrigo Duterte, whose presidency was infamous for its bloody war on drugs, ended a year ago but drug-related killings have nor abated under Pres. Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. despite his pronouncement of a “more holistic” approach to the problem of illegal drugs.

The Dahas Project of the UP Third World Studies Center reported that as of May 31, almost a year after Marcos was sworn into office, 309 have been killed in connection with illegal drugs. The number exceeds the 302 reported drug-related killings in the last year of the Duterte administration.

4 December 2022

Drug killings under Marcos Jr. surpass those killed in last six months of Duterte

Third World Studies Center

Even as President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. adopted a different strategy from the Duterte administration’s brutal war against illegal drugs, the killings continue on the high side, data gathered through the Dahas Project of the University of the Philippines Third World Studies Center showed.

3 March 2022

Lack of justice compounds pain of palit-katawan victims

Mary Ann Manahan, Jean Enriquez, and Janica Rosales

Victimized many times over, the pain and the trauma of the women who were subjected to palit-katawan (rape-for-freedom) in the time of former President Rodrigo Duterte’s tokhang cut very deep.

Palit-katawan translated literally as exchange of bodies is a term used both by the police and the researchers where the former use their power and authority to force women to have sex to save their partners from jail time or death. The phenomenon of palit-katawan emphasizes that men rape not because of biology but because of the gendered power dynamics that govern our social relations, i.e., authority and power are used to dominate and subjugate women’s bodies.

20 january 2022

Duterte’s drug war killings rise in Year 2 of the pandemic

Nixcharl C. Noriega and Larah Vinda Del Mundo

Even as the country grappled with new strains of Covid-19 last year, the Duterte government’s drug war continued to claim more lives at the average rate of three deaths every two days.

Data collected by the Third World Studies Center of the University of the Philippines Diliman showed that in 2021, the second year of the pandemic, 545 people were killed in the bloody campaign. This was 84 more than the total in 2020, or an 18 percent increase.

8 august 2021

Duterte’s drug war claims Chinese casualties

Nixcharl C. Noriega

Foreigners in the country, mostly Chinese, are also getting killed in the bloody war against illegal drugs by the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte.

The latest casualty is Wu Zishen, 51, who was shot dead in a buy-bust operation in Bulacan on August 1. He is the 14th Chinese drug personality killed in such encounters since Duterte launched his campaign against drugs in 2016.

23 july 2021

Duterte drug war has killed 2 per day, says UP study

Krixia Subingsubing (Philippine Daily Inquirer)

President Duterte will leave behind an “endless, failed” war on drugs in which, up to his last year in office, at least two people are killed in a day despite his administration’s claims that it is “winning” the campaign, according to an independent monitoring group that is tallying the drug-related killings.

And the numbers show that 2021 is shaping up to be one of the bloodiest years since Mr. Duterte began his drug campaign in 2016, when he assumed the presidency, said researchers Joel Ariate and Nixcharl Noriega of the University of the Philippines (UP)-Third World Studies Center.

08 April 2021

Drug War Logs 186 Killings in First Quarter of the Year Amid Surge in COVID-19 Cases

Nixcharl Noriega

As the country grapples with record high numbers in COVID-19 cases that have forced the government to extend the highly-restrictive lockdown in the “NCR Plus” area, drug-related killings have not abated, reaching 186 in the first three months of this year.

That’s a striking 44% increase from the last quarter of 2020. Or almost two deaths a day.

7 february 2021

The PNP Chiefs’ Scorecard on the War on Drugs; “Bato” Tops in the Number of Kills

Nixcharl C. Noriega and Jamaica Jian G. Gacoscosim

Since the start of the Duterte administration in July 2016, five PNP chiefs have taken their turn in leading Duterte’s war on illegal drugs: Dela Rosa, Oscar David Albayalde, Archie Francisco Gamboa, Camilo Cascolan, and Debold Sinas.  Each PNP chief made his own calculations on how best to conduct Duterte’s war on drugs. What remains clear is that, based on our data, the number of minor players (pushers and users) killed far outnumbers those designated as high-value targets. The ratio stands at 1:5.

18 November 2020

Barangay officials, the drug war’s hidden fatalities

Jamaica Jian G. Gacoscosim and Nixcharl C. Noriega

Last November 5, the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency released to the public their most recent figures on the government’s war on drugs covering the period July 1, 2016 to September 30, 2020. PDEA’s Real Numbers peg the drug war deaths for the said period at 5,903. The data includes a tally of government workers arrested in anti-drug operations: 438 government employees, 356 elected officials, and 102 uniformed personnel.

PDEA fails to mention that government workers, barangay officials in particular, were also getting killed in the administration’s anti-drug campaign

18 May 2020

No let up in ‘Tokhang’ even during lockdown

Jamaica Jian G. Gacoscosim and Nixcharl C. Noriega

Even with the national police efforts concentrated at enforcing quarantine protocols, the number of drug-related killings belies the police’s assertion of a pause in Tokhang in a time of a public health crisis. The police and vigilantes did not cease in hunting down drug suspects.
There have been 53 drug-related killings since Metro Manila was put under an enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) on March 15.