“Hitler of the Philippines in May 2016, he

“Hitler massacred three million Jews, now there are three million drug addicts. I’d be happy to slaughter them.” -Rodrigo Duterte (President of the Philippines). With the Philippines’ economy suffering, many men have been stripped of job opportunities, and forced to work as drug dealers, pushers or mules; therefore, increasing the number of drug users within the nation immensely. When Rodrigo Duterte was elected president of the Philippines in May 2016, he quickly initiated a war on drugs. This promptly resulted in the extrajudicial deaths of thousands of people. Before his presidential campaign, Duterte served as mayor of Davao City (a large city, about the size of Chicago, located on one of the Southern islands of the Philippines.) Under Duterte’s leadership, Davao quickly became the Philippine city with the highest murder rate and the second highest rape rate in the nation WHY? . Just three days after his inauguration, 30 people were killed by the Philippine National Police for alleged drug use. Within a month, 103 were reported dead, murdered by Duterte’s “War on Drugs”. Unfortunately, that was only the beginning of Duterte’s war.These murder rates have since risen to over 14,000 dead, all ordered by Duterte. One of the discharged policemen confessed that hitmen were paid up to $2,000 per kill, depending on the victim’s standings. After these murders were completed, the policemen would attempt to cover up the unlawful killings, by planting evidence at the crime scene and falsifying incident reports. Recently, a 17-year old student was tortured, shot and dragged out by two policemen. These policemen later reported this as an act of “self-defense”. The same day, a 14-year old kid was stabbed to death 30 times and then thrown in a creek. More than a thousand people attended these victims funerals, resulting in one of the largest protests against the War on Drugs to date. Surprisingly, this issue has not gained much national or international recognition. Within the Philippines, Duterte still holds an approval rate of approximately 86%. While some international committees, diplomats, and governments are recognizing the horrors of this war, many are overlooking these inhumane acts and are admiring the country’s direct action operation. The prime minister of Japan stated his approval and even offered financial assistance to fund the War on Drugs, not mentioning the vast number of deaths as a result. Taiwan, China, and Indonesia’s leaders have all also revealed their approval for the country’s strategy. During a phone call between Duterte and US president Donald Trump, Trump declared the government’s action in the “war on drugs” being done “the right way”. Although the local and international communities have been very supportive of Duterte’s decisions, many nations are still voicing their criticisms of this war. Duterte is facing many international restraints, such as the European Parliament. They recently stated that the parliament is extremely concerned by the “extraordinarily high numbers killed during police operations, in the context of an intensified anti-crime and anti-drug campaign.” The EU trade commissioner also warned that the Philippines must stabilize the human rights’ issues currently taking place in the nation. Otherwise, the Union will place tariffs on imports from the Philippines, which consists of over 6,000 products. The Philippines ignored these threats, explaining that this statement exposed the EU’s ignorance. Since then, the US has also taken action. They recently cut off their funding to the Philippines and have begun to encourage the nation to look at a more holistic approach. This proposal focuses on the health of the nation’s citizens, rather than the unnecessary and horrifying retaliation programs in place now. The International Criminal Court (ICC) is also already expressing concern over the matter, stating that, “any person within the country who provokes acts of mass violence by ordering, requesting, encouraging or participating…will be prosecuted before the court of ICC.” After this statement was released, Duterte began to be investigated by the ICC. The War on Drugs has also been interpreted by many different media sources, locally and internationally. Recently, National Geographic published a documentary highlighting graphic scenes and terrifying stories from the War on Drugs. While any attention toward this war is a step forward, it is not nearly adequate. It is imperative that the United Nations take direct action to halt these extrajudicial murders immediately. One solution to this horrifying war would be to advocate the investment into rehabilitation centers or other treatment facilities. We need to re-approach the drug dilemma with an emphasis on health, instead of retaliation. Duterte has “pledged to kill another 20,000 to 30,000 people,” many simply because they suffer from a drug use disorder. The increase of treatment resources would aide these addicts in their recovery to becoming sober in a traditional and a secure manner. As we have commonly learned, it is extremely challenging for addicts to recover without the proper and legitimate care they deserve. Along with opportunities for their citizens to become sober, the government should also provide large incentives for those who do reach sobriety; such as greater job opportunities or tax cuts. Therefore, addicts would not only have the support they lack, but would also be presented with very reasonable motives for their sobriety. The remaining amount of users, dealers or pushers would later be tried, charged and served, justly, as criminals. The UN’s aide, along with the cooperation of other opposing nations, would cease the War on Drugs and resolve the deadly drug dilemma within the nation of the Philippines. Let us accept and understand the perfect irony within Duterte’s own words: “The ride will be rough. But come and join me just the same. Together, shoulder to shoulder, let us take the first wobbly steps in this quest.”