Poor Filipinos most vulnerable in Duterte's drug war: study

Patrick Quintos, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 25 2018 04:34 PM | Updated as of Jun 25 2018 06:52 PM

MANILA (UPDATED) - Poor Filipinos are the most vulnerable in President Rodrigo Duterte's war on drugs, according to a research analysis by some of the country's top schools. 

The study focused on the 5,021 drug-related killings from May 10, 2016 to September 29, 2017 reported by various media organizations. May 10 is the day Duterte won the presidential elections.

The research indicated the jobs of only around 15.7 percent of the victims but it showed that most of them were poor.

Two-hundred twenty three (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 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.


The study further showed that most of the drug-related killings were recorded in Metro Manila, with the cities of Manila, Quezon City, and Caloocan having the most.

In the regions, most of the killings were recorded in the provinces of Bulacan and Cebu, Pangasinan, Laguna, and Rizal.


Meanwhile, the research also saw certain drops and surges in drug-related killings from 2016 to 2017, the first year of President Duterte, who had vowed to wage a bloody war on drugs.

"The first sustained drop in rate of killings per night began in late January 2017, when Oplan Tokhang was suspended temporarily as a reaction to revelations about the kidnapping and murder of a Korean businessman," it said.

Korean Jee Ick Joo was killed inside the Philippine National Police headquarters (PNP) in Camp Crame. 

"The sharp reduction in deaths, below 10 per night on most nights, started on January 27. On March 6, operations were relaunched under a new moniker, Oplan Double Barrel Reloaded. Ten people were reported killed the following day," it added.

The study also saw a surge in drug-related killings in August 2017, with 46 drug war deaths recorded in the first 3 days of the month, peaking on August 15, when 45 killings were reported on that day alone. 

"This was the day before Kian Lloyd delos Santos was killed. Kian was a 17-year-old Grade 11 student whose death was captured by CCTV cameras as police officers dragged the struggling teenager to an alley where he was shot to death," the study said.


The research was launched alongside the Drug Archive Philippines website which aims to consolidate and explain available data on Duterte's drug war. 

It was led by a research consortium led by the Ateneo School of Government, De La Salle Philippines, UP Diliman, and the Stabile Center for Investigative Journalism.

Veteran journalist Sheila Coronel and Benjamin Pimentel, UP Mass Communication Professor Clarissa David, author Lorna Kalaw-Tirol comprised the study's editorial committee.

They used ABS-CBN News' data on drug war deaths, among others, in the research. 

"The consortium supports multidisciplinary and evidence-based research on the anti-drug campaign in the Philippines," the website description read.

The research study pushed for more health-based rehabilitation programs in the communities which, data show, are more effective in dealing with the majority of drug users who are not severely addicted.

It also said that law enforcement actions should focus on reducing supply, and on the capture of high-level drug suppliers rather than low-level drug dealers. 

"Reduction of demand by investing in prevention programs that are informed by a rigorous study of reasons for why individuals start and sustain drug use," the study added.--report by Mike Navallo, ABS-CBN News