Duterte’s biggest challenge

When Rodrigo Duterte ran for Philippines President, he campaigned on a platform of securing peace and order for the country. His main focus was the creeping drug menace in society. It was a topic every Filipino could relate to, for who doesn’t know any addicts? If not relatives or friends severely hooked on shabu (methamphetamine hydrochloride), dubbed the “poor man’s cocaine,” they know the occasional user going to the bars and partying, and downing ecstasy or snorting high-grade cocaine. At home, they even hear of complaints from their laundrywoman who has a husband pushing narcotics, and how many times she has pled with him to go find a safer, more honest job.

So despite his potty mouth and sick jokes about raping dead women, Duterte won the presidency with 16 million votes. It was not a clear majority, as there were four other candidates who split the rest of the 40 million votes. But between him who seemed to have a clearer vision on how to solve the country’s seeming basic problems and the other candidates who could only talk about how to grow the economy further, Filipinos chose the cussing, don’t-take- prisoners candidate.

His supporters got their wish. Three months into office, more than 3000 Filipinos have died, accused as either addicts or pushers, and killed by the police in raids on drug dens, or while under police custody, but largely, the deaths have been due to extra-judicial methods. No one has been arrested yet for any of the extra-judicial killings.

And no one really talks about the innocent victims who have been caught in the crossfire of this war on drugs. Like the 5-year- old Danica May Gar