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Duterte war on drugs draws more cheers than jeers!

Many Filipinos say President Rodrigo Duterte’s brutal antidrug campaign, which has killed thousands of people suspected of being dealers or addicts, is a welcome antidote to the fear they say has gripped the Philippines for decades. About 4,000 readers in the Philippines responded on The New York Times website and on Facebook to the photographer Daniel Berehulak’s gruesome pictures of killings committed in the course of Mr. Duterte’s violent crackdown. The Inquirer published Berehulak’s story and some of his photos on Friday. 

Some who responded said they were outraged over extrajudicial killings by the police and by the vigilante justice they inspired. “The fear of drug lords is replaced by the fear of police,” Honey de Peralta wrote on Facebook. But many more Filipinos applauded Mr. Duterte, and said the victims had deserved to be punished. 

“Slaughter might be harsh but I guess for drug peddlers, they deserve it,” Daphnie A. Diamola said. Their comments help explain why recent polls show more than 80 percent of Filipinos support the outspoken Mr. Duterte and his policy. Here are excerpts from other comments, lightly edited. (The Facebook posts can be viewed only in the Philippines.) Filipinos say the government must address the scourge of drugs and addiction. 

We in the slums of Manila, who have been living in constant fear for the past 10-plus years because of the denial of the previous administration that we are becoming a narco state, feel safer. You do not have the right to tell that you don’t feel safe if you haven’t experienced violence from drug-infested areas!!!—Ann Mendoza via nytimes.com 

Before, innocent people are dying every day because of these drug addicts, and pushers are earning billions of pesos and dollars. For us, better to kill these drug pushers and drug addicts than them killing the innocents.—Jah Rastafari via Facebook 

Killings were made by drug lords and their runners and hit men. Police visibility was doubled or tripled and that is way better than the past six years of agony and pain created by Aquino administration and their narcosupporters.—Jhun Barrey Gelacio Laggui via Facebook 

The dangers of unchecked drug violence in poor communities in the Philippines had grown unacceptable for many people. I’m from the famous district of Tondo. So far so good. I feel safer nowadays. If only you had seen Tondo through my eyes when drug dealings are much of a common scene in our everyday lives. Not until Duterte came. The thugs who mock our laws are the ones who are more afraid these days.—Agapito Bagumbayan via Facebook 

As far as I know, if you’re a law-abiding citizen, nothing happens to you. That’s how we are in Davao, which is the among the nation’s most peaceful cities despite being multiethnically diverse and being on Mindanao island, and where our President was once a mayor, and we are very proud of it.—John Paul II, Philippines via nytimes.com comments 

Still others fear for their lives and worry the situation in the Philippines will get only worse. The situation here, though, is not like in a war zone. It is worse. While you can still live out your day, go to work, eat outside, and go back home after the day is done, you have no idea when such an incident may happen to you or your loved ones. You do not know whether to trust the police or not. You try to ignore the fear, but it is there.—Jan Michael A. Rivera via nytimes.com 

Friends of mine have had friends and relatives killed. Never have I seen such impunity from my government. Rodrigo Duterte has a razor-focused vendetta and it is misguided and cruel and uneducated and vile, and in its wake is the Filipino people’s sense of humanity.—Joseph Pascual via Facebook 

Poor people linked to drugs are killed, while big-time drug lords/rich people linked to drugs get to flee the country or get the benefit of the doubt or due process.—Tina Quinalayo via Facebook 

Contrary to what a lot of my fellowmen here say, no, we do not feel safer in the Philippines. Life is not better. The peso is depreciating much faster than other Asian currencies and the culture of impunity makes you wonder who’s next. The fear of drug lords is replaced by the fear of police.—Honey de Peralta via Facebook 

Supporters of the policy applaud the apparent effectiveness of the ruthless police tactics. I’m living in the Philippines, and yes one of my family got killed because of this campaign, but I still and the rest of my relatives support this campaign because since the administration changed, we feel safer compared to the past administration. And about his efforts, we, most of Filipinos, are very satisfied of his works.—Jhudie Rap Ram-jo via Facebook 

Mr. Duterte’s campaign against drugs has resulted in fewer cases of crimes. The ordinary people are now more confident when they walk the streets at night knowing that there are less drug-crazed criminals who would prey on them.—Jose Jaravata via Facebook 

The Philippines is a much safer place. Our President is a good President … compassionate. But he is also fair. If you break the law, you will be arrested; if you resist, you get hurt, or die. For the rest of us law-abiding citizens, we have absolutely nothing to worry about.—Leidi Mae Arenas via Facebook 

I live in the Philippines and “slaughter” is, I think, a very inappropriate term. And to be blunt about it, the only effect it has for me as a law-abiding citizen is that we are no longer scared of criminals/drug addicts; we are no longer scared to go out on a wee hour for a midnight snack; we can go out to streets without fear of being held up. Most importantly, we trust that the huge taxes we pay the government do not go directly to their pockets, which in fact had been the norm for some government officials years back.—Nicole Nepomuceno via Facebook


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