Duterte’s Philippines

A chilling photo essay in the NYT: ‘They Are Slaughtering Us Like Animals’

I had come to document the bloody and chaotic campaign against drugs that President Rodrigo Duterte began when he took office on June 30: since then, about 2,000 people had been slain at the hands of the police alone.


I HAVE WORKED IN 60 COUNTRIES, covered wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and spent much of 2014 living inside West Africa’s Ebola zone, a place gripped by fear and death. What I experienced in the Philippines felt like a new level of ruthlessness: police officers’ summarily shooting anyone suspected of dealing or even using drugs, vigilantes’ taking seriously Mr. Duterte’s call to “slaughter them all.”

The words and photos are chilling and sickening.

FILED UNDER: Afghanistan War, Africa, Asia, Policing, World Politics, , , , ,
Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter


  1. MarkedMan says:

    The final solution

  2. CB says:

    People who take this blithe attitude towards addicts are the absolute scum of the Earth.

  3. MBunge says:

    How bad is the drug problem in the Phillipines for the public to tolerate and embrace this response?


  4. Neil Hudelson says:


    The two most popular drugs in the Phillipines are Meth and Marijuana. I think these killings are mostly (all?) targeted towards Meth dealers and users.

    The rate of drug use among men aged 16-64 in the Phillipines is around 2.5%, according to Reuters, which is using the Phillipine Government’s official statistics.

    Independent studies by various universities have found the rate to be much lower–around 1.3%.

    What’s fascinating and tragic is that Filipino drug use has been falling for years–its declined 81% in 8 years. Source: http://www.rappler.com/newsbreak/iq/144331-data-drug-problem-philippines

  5. Neil Hudelson says:

    @Neil Hudelson:

    For context, America’s meth use rate is around 0.4%.

  6. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @MBunge: I don’t know, how bad was the Jew problem in Germany for the public to tolerate and embrace that response? In other words, it’s all about finding a convenient scapegoat to blame all your problems on.

  7. Jc says:

    Executed in the streets without trials. Slaughtering thousands and telling people to expect more. Savage injustice and murder by this man’s force of police killers…no due process or law, just execution. Gee sounds like the kinda guy we should invite to the White House…ahem. Sad.

  8. Wr says:

    @MBunge: Shorter MBunge: “I wonder what all those Jews are doing to deserve the death camps.”

  9. Bill says:

    Duerte is considering martial law.


    I’m married to a Filipina and love the country but their politicians are something else.

  10. Gromitt Gunn says:

    Gods. So many of those men thought they were doing the right thing by voluntarily putting themselves on their government’s lists of users wanting rehab…