The Philippine Drug War, also known as Philippine War on Drugs, is an ongoing crackdown against narcotics distribution and use in the Philippines that began on June 30, 2016 when Rodrigo Duterte was inaugurated as president.
Background of events
One of the central features of President Rodrigo Duterte’s presidential campaign was the levels of drug crime across the country. Stating that the country would become a narco-state if drug addiction was not forcefully combated, he ran a hardline campaign which included the extrajudicial killing of suspected drug dealers and abusers. Winning in a landslide victory, he promised to kill tens of thousands of drug criminals during the campaign against narcotics.
As Mayor of Davao City, Rodrigo Duterte was praised for turning his city into one of the safest cities in the world through the suppression of drugs and criminality, although he was criticized by groups like Human Rights Watch for the extrajudicial killings carried out by the Davao Death Squad, a vigilante group with which he was allegedly involved.
In the first two weeks of Rodrigo Duterte’s presidency, more than 100 suspected drug dealers had been killed, 1,844 arrested and 660,000 drug users and dealers had surrendered. In August 2016, that number had inflated to approximately 1,800 killed, 5,400 arrested and 565,805 dealers and users surrendered to police. While the Director-General of the Philippine National Police, Ronald dela Rosa, stated that crime rates had fallen by 49% since the President took office, critics of the campaign likened the situation to the dictatorship of Ferdinand Marcos.