30 September 2016
Due to his acid tongue and backing of vigilante death squads, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte is increasingly likened to a dictator. On Friday, he even made the comparison explicit himself, saying, “Hitler massacred 3 million Jews. Now, there are 3 million drug addicts … I’d be happy to slaughter them,” according to GMA News.
Duterte had just arrived in Davao City, where he served more than two decades as mayor, and first launched the extrajudicial “drugs war” that is now spiraling across the 100 million-strong Southeast Asian nation. Since his inauguration June 30, police and vigilantes have heaped more than 3,000 bloodied corpses onto the nation’s streets, many scrawled with grisly epitaphs like “pusher.”
The 71-year-old’s indiscriminate campaign has strained the Philippines’ already bursting prisons as well as its relationship with old ally Washington. On Wednesday, Senator Patrick Leahy suggested that the U.S. should consider withholding financial assistance to the Philippines in response to the drugs war. Duterte responded by vowing that the latest U.S.-Philippine joint military exercises would be the last.
… Beijing has offered to build a huge drug-rehabilitation center on the main Philippine island of Luzon, according to Duterte, though it’s no secret that much of the crystal methamphetamine flooding the Philippines comes from southern China. In addition, the precursor drugs for locally produced meth are generally manufactured in Chinese labs. But it’s unlikely that Duterte will press either this issue or the South China Sea too hard in Beijing. “You won’t see Duterte badger them,” says Joseph Franco, an expert on the Philippines at Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University. “It’s going to be theater, they are going to make a spectacle out of it.”
CENS / Online
Last updated on 04/10/2016