Metro Manila has recorded the highest number of drug-related deaths following the Duterte administration’s campaign against illegal drugs in 2016, according to data from a research done by three universities.
Out of 5,021 recorded drug-related killings, 40 percent or 2,000 were in the National Capital Region, with Manila, Quezon City, and Caloocan topping the list.
Bulacan has registered the highest kill rate among all provinces with 644 deaths, according to the study presented at the Catholic Ateneo de Manila University on Monday.
According to the research, around 15.7 percent of the victims had jobs indicated but it showed that most of them were poor. Some 223 of the victims—whose jobs were identified in the study—were either tricycle, pedicab, or jeepney drivers, barkers, construction workers, vendors, farmers, or garbage collectors.
There were also 38 victims who were reported as unemployed.
The research also showed 130 local government officials—mostly from the barangay level—and 127 uniformed personnel killed in the drug war.
“Based on their place of residence or their occupation, it is clear that most of the victims were poor,” the research noted.
In the Senate, meanwhile, opposition Senator Risa Hontiveros urged President Rodrigo Duterte to heed the call of the 38 countries under the United Nations Human Rights Council to end the killings in its war on illegal drugs and to cooperate with international bodies in investigating rights abuses.
Instead of dismissing the countries’ call, she said that like a responsible member of the international community, the Duterte government should heed it.
“It is not enough to say that the government is already making its own assessment of the country’s human rights situation,” said Hontiveros, who expressed her happiness that “more and more countries are adding their voice in the fight to end the climate of killings and impunity in our country.”
She said these countries were compelled to speak in one voice against the abuses in the Philippines was a testament that the government was not doing enough. With MJ Blancaflor
She also found Foreign Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano’s remarks ridiculous—that the 38 countries were simply biased against the country and misinformed.
In the study, researchers from ADMU, De La Salle University, and the state-run University of the Philippines observed patterns in drug-related deaths based on news reports from May 10, 2016 until Sept. 29, 2017.
“It may be possible that there are other hotspots in other provinces not recorded by media; that, however, does not discount the fact that killings in these places occurred,” said Clarissa David, senior research fellow of Ateneo School of Government.
The study also showed 55 percent of drug-related deaths were killed in police operations, the majority of which were during buy-bust operations.
Thirty-eight percent were killed by unidentified assailants.
Dubbed as the most comprehensive data set on drug-related killings outside government information, the study also revealed that 23 percent of the dead were on the drug watchlists compiled by police and local officials.
Forty-seven percent of the drug-related killings involved supposedly small-time drug dealers while only one percent belonged to the so-called narco-politicians.
The number of deaths varied in response to government orders and public scrutiny on a campaign against illegal drugs, the study said.
David underscored the data set only “represents a fraction of the killings” as it was primarily aimed to examine patterns on drug-related deaths and not to present a total count.
According to Hontiveros, Cayetano should know that many of the countries that signed the petition had diplomatic missions in the country, manned by hundreds of staff.
“They know what is happening around here,” she said.
“And assuming, without conceding, that Cayetano is correct in saying that these countries are biased and misinformed, does this not speak of his effectiveness as the country’s foreign affairs secretary?”
“Following his logic, does this mean as foreign affairs secretary, he failed to convince the international community of the real situation in the country? Is he capable of convincing only China?”
Hontiveros said she was sure the Duterte administration would again play the sovereignty card, saying the 38 nations were meddling in the country’s domestic affairs.
She said there was nothing patriotic about shutting the world off from the horrors of the thousands of unsolved killings in the country.
“It is not a defense of the country’s sovereignty. Rather, it is the perpetuation of the culture of killing and impunity,” she said.
She said the government must understand that the Philippines “is part of a global community joined not only by trade and economic ties, but by the shared respect for human dignity and social welfare.
“We thus have an obligation to democracy, human rights and rule of law.
“And this obligation includes subjecting our public policies and governance affairs to scrutiny, in the same way that we may scrutinize, protest or constructively engage the actions of other states or global players.”