Philippine Journal of Third World Studies

Kasarinlan: Philippine Journal of Third World Studies is an internationally refereed journal published twice a year. It provides a forum for critical and interdisciplinary perspectives on the Philippines and the Third World with special reference to political economy.

Vol 34, No 1-2 (2019)

Violence, Human Rights, and Democracy in the Philippines


Violence, Human Rights, and Democracy in the Philippines
Jereon Adam, Joel F. Ariate Jr., and Elinor May K. Cruz
Introduces the content of Kasarinlan: Philippine Journal of Third World Studies, volume 34, numbers 1-2 (2019), “Violence, Human Rights, and Democracy in the Philippines.”


Tokhang in North Caloocan: Weaponizing Local Governance, Social Disarticulation, and Community Resistance
Raymond Palatino
The article maps out the violent consequences of tokhang, the flagship antidrug operations of the Duterte administration, in the three largest barangays in North Caloocan by exploring the difference between the anti-drug campaign before and after 2016, the uniqueness of tokhang and the dynamics between the national tokhang narrative, the participation of local government units (LGUs), and the spontaneous and organized response of citizens and people’s organizations. Data were gathered mainly from official government sources such as police files and budget deliberations, field interviews, and information sourced from Caloocan-based people’s organizations such as recorded testimonies from relatives of victims and residents who witnessed tokhang operations and documentations of protests mounted in opposition to tokhang. The paper argues that tokhang weaponized the LGU mandate by linking the anti-drug campaign with the mandate of drafting an anti-criminality action plan and the enforcement of peace and order programs. The ferocity of these operations resulted in a kind of “social disarticulation” among the residents of the communities, and as a response, residents have launched various protests and rights campaigns against these anti-drug operations.
The Manobo Community of Han-ayan: Enduring Continuities and Changes in Militarization
Augusto B. Gatmaytan
The study attempts to weave together a partial social history of the indigenous Manobo community of Han-ayan, which has suffered spectacular violence at the hands of paramilitaries backed by government troops in 2015, months before Rodrigo Duterte captured the presidency in 2016. Employing the concept of “containment zones” and “filter points,” it seeks to create an initial phenomenology of contemporary militarization in a hinterland setting under the Duterte administration, and explores the meaning of the violence of the state’s counterinsurgency efforts that the targeted community holds. Through key informant interviews conducted during the latter half of 2018, and supplemented by participant-observation that the security conditions of the research site allowed, the case of the Manobo of Han-ayan reveals both continuities and novel measures in the state’s performance of violence whose cumulative effect on the community leaves them in a state of profound precarity and insecurity, constantly anticipating the state’s next act of violence.
Factors and Forces that Led to the Marawi Debacle
Criselda Yabes

This report is an attempt to piece together the events that led to the battle of Marawi in 2017, before rebels acting on a pledge to ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria), also known as ISIL (Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant), planned a takeover to turn Marawi into a wilayat, or a province under an absolute Islamic state. How the events found its way to Marawi was gathered from private interviews with four intelligence officers and their analysis of classified reports, four major sources close to the Maute family, and from secret dossiers brought to the attention of former President Benigno Aquino III whose government at the time before the Marawi siege was cautious to highlight the threat. This report would also reveal the collaboration of the fighters belonging to the so-called Maute Group with a few identified foreign terrorists who have managed quite easily to slip into and stay in the country, influencing, variably, the trend of extremism among Filipino Muslims.

Read and download the full paper here.

Mirroring Duterte
Karol Ilagan, Agatha Fabricante, and Christine Fabro

This case study focuses on the role of the local media in creating an environment favorable for forwarding the political propaganda against illegal drugs in Davao City. The local newspaper of Davao, the Mindanao Daily Mirror appeared to serve as a mouthpiece of those in power in Davao City rather than as an inquirer, watchdog, or representative of the Davaoeños. Through reviewing 256 news reports and interviewing journalists, this research casts light on how the media was used in antidrug campaigns and how it framed the narratives behind the operations in relation to the drug war in Davao City.

Read and download the full paper here.

Developing a Method for Recording Drug-Related Killings
Dianna Limpin and Ruth Siringan

President Rodrigo Duterte’s “war on drugs” has fostered a culture of violence and impunity that has seen an alarming increase in the number of unresolved killings. There is a need to probe these killings in a methodological manner so as not to cause even more confusion among a people already bombarded with misinformation on a near-daily basis. There are a number of databases and estimates of the drug war’s casualty count, but few actually take the time to explain how they come up with their figures. This study aims to (1) develop a method in recording drug-related deaths in the Philippines, (2) to create a database of reported killings using the method developed, and (3) to identify key trends in the circumstances of the deaths and the media’s coverage of those deaths. The main contribution of this study is neither an exact death toll nor an exhaustive record of victims but a clear set of parameters on what constitute drugrelated deaths and how they can be recorded by other concerned parties. Due to practical constraints, the study was based only on the news reports of a single source. Still, recording drug-related killings is a step toward seeking accountability from its perpetrators. It is hoped that, through this endeavor, institutions, especially the academe, will be encouraged to monitor killings in their localities, particularly those that are often out of the mainstream media’s reach.

Read and download the full paper here.