[Off-the-shelf] The Killing State: Duterte’s Legacy of Violence | PhilRights
The Killing State: Duterte’s Legacy of Violence
President Rodrigo Roa Duterte was elected in 2016 under a campaign platform that promised a no-nonsense approach to crushing crime, corruption and the illegal drugs problem. His campaign team packaged him as both tough and compassionate, with “Tapang at Malasakit” and the battlecry “Change is coming.”
This messaging resonated with a populace who felt that the promise of better lives post-EDSA 1986 had never materialized and believed that the ‘progress’ and orderliness in Davao City should be replicated throughout the country. Rodrigo Duterte would go on to win by a very comfortable margin, getting 16.6 million of some 44 million votes, one of the highest voter turnouts in history.
Now, in 2021, the Philippines is hurtling through a human rights crisis made worse by a global pandemic. Change did come, after all, albeit in terms of high kill counts and immense suffering. Change, it turns out, means living in a country besieged by extreme violence and widespread human rights violations at a rate and intensity not seen since Martial Law’s darkest days.
This human rights crisis, made possible by the violent so-called war on drugs, the widespread attacks against human rights defenders, activists, and the media, and the willful disregard for social and economic justice, has caused untold suffering and will have manifold impacts for years to come.
Our task with this paper is two-fold: trace this human rights crisis from 2016 to present by highlighting its key dimensions and describe the impacts of this crisis on Filipinos and the country’s democracy.
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