Ever since Rodrigo Duterte became President of the Philippines in 2016, thousands of suspected drug dealers and users have died under the most brutal war on drugs witnessed in recent history. In his former stint as Mayor of Davao City, Duterte — popularly known as “The Punisher” — encouraged citizens to take the law into their own hands and murder drug dealers and other criminals. Human rights groups claim that death squads killed over 1,400 drug users, minor criminals, and even homeless children under Duterte's watch.
After being elected president, Duterte took his extremist war on drugs nationwide. Between the time Duterte took office and February 2018, more than 20,000 people are estimated to have been killed in police drug raids, according to a recent report.
MERRY JANE News correspondent Christel Escosa traveled to Manila to see how Duterte's deadly prohibitionist policies are affecting the lives of everyday citizens. Even though a number of Filipinos are still getting high behind closed doors, no one is willing to admit it for fear of being targeted by law enforcement.