Tok, tok...bang, bang: The bloody war on drugs

He promised it would be bloody.

President Rodrigo Duterte said he would eradicate drugs and crime within 3 to 6 months. Now, barely a month into his term, some officials are calling the initial stage of the campaign a success.

One aspect of the systematic operations against drug pushers and users is dubbed "Oplan Tokhang." Tokhang is short for 'Tok, tok, hangyo,' which means knock, knock, plead (to surrender or stop illegal acts). But the bloody outcome so far has prompted some to call it "Tokbang," short for "knock, knock, bang bang."

The overall campaign has seen a dramatic rise in fatalities, with the total count reaching more than 500 since May 10, or an average of ten killed per day. Thousands more of alleged pushers and users are surrendering for fear of their lives.

Initial data show early gains in peace and order, with some districts in Metro Manila reporting lower petty crimes.

As the body count rises, so has the president's trust rating, which seems to indicate that people approve of the campaign. 

But there are some who have expressed concern over the high number of fatalities amid reports that the police are allegedly acting as judge, jury and executioner in some of the operations. Their voices, however, have been drowned out by the euphoria over pagbabago (change). 

READ: Duterte crime war 'out of control': critics

For now, it seems blood will continue to flow.

Scene of the Crime Operatives (SOCO) process the crime scene as the body of the alleged number one drug pusher in Parola, Tondo slumps dead in the background after he was killed in a police operation on July 14, 2016. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News



Share your views