Real Numbers: 12,000 Deaths in 8 Months

It has been almost a year since Rodrigo Duterte took his oath as the 16th President of the Philippines, and it has been quite a year. It is not news to us that his advocacy revolves around one thing: drugs. His platform from the very beginning made it clear he considers illegal drugs the root of all evil and its eradication the cure-all for this nation’s many problems.

All good. Maybe a little simple-minded, but the thought is there. The country even thought it could work – sixteen million Filipinos decided to vote for him and give him the chance to do as he says. For a while it seemed the country won itself a fulfilling victory.

And then the killings started. In the span of 8 months, the number of recorded deaths went over 12,000, and that is just the figure reported and tallied by the police. There are hundreds if not thousands more unrecorded and unknown to all but the ones who knew them.

The government keeps on denying it and dismissing it, but the Philippine National Police itself acknowledged these numbers. And yet this government continues turning a blind eye to what is really happening in the country. Instead of helping its people, it chooses to order policemen to shoot and kill. The President even guarantees their safety from the judiciary—Ako ang bahala sainyo, he tells them. As it turns out, our policemen – sworn to protect and uphold the law – are so good at killing people: 12,000 dead in 8 months. That’s an average of 1,500 a month, or fifty persons a day, dead, bearing placards labeling them as drug personalities, judged and executed on the streets. Most of them belong to the poorest sectors of our society. Some of them children too young to have even known what was happening around them.

Instead of instilling hope in the hearts and minds of the masses, this government insists on instilling fear. How does one trust such a government?

This administration has failed to deliver on its promises of a better, more peaceful country. An administration that kills its people is clearly not for them.

12,000 deaths in 8 months is not a joke. This has to end.


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