Photo Courtesy of the New York Times and the CDC

World War III

The Bloody Battle for Sobriety

April 17, 2019

The idea of drugs in Butler County is not a strange or unusual thought. It has become a known fact that heroin and fentanyl use around our home town is more and more common as the years go by. What we don’t think of, though, is how much this war on drugs is affecting other parts of the world.

Manila is one of the poorest cities in the Philippines; polluted, filled to the brim with people, the home of the highest crime rate in the South Pacific, and a place where addiction is more common than sobriety.

The Filipino president, Rodrigo Duterte, is a nationalist leader who has been in outspoken support of extrajudicial killings as a solution to the country’s substance war. These are killings done by governmental authorities or individuals without the sanction of any judicial proceeding or legal process. In other words, officials are legally able to hunt down and kill anyone they deem guilty of either dealing or even using drugs without consequences.

The way their government set this up was by creating a rehabilitation program for addicts who were willing to turn their life around. They filled out a form with their information, handed it back, and then, the government officials would track them by their addresses to arrest them or execute them. Over 700,000 users have surrendered, close to 60,000 dealers have surrendered, but between 20,000 to 30,000 people, according to human rights groups, weren’t given that option and were killed, just from 2016 to 2018 alone.

Over 700,000 users have surrendered, close to 60,000 dealers have surrendered, but between 20,000 to 30,000 people… weren’t given that option and were killed”

The government justifies these murders by labeling them as “nanlaban,” which means “he fought it out” in the native language. This gives officials the ability to dismiss any evidence that it could have been an unjust killing due to the victims “resisting arrest,” even though most of them weren’t even given a chance to surrender, according to eyewitnesses, photo evidence and security camera film.

These new harsh, strong-armed laws to attempt to stop the drug problem have left the citizens of Manila caught in a never-ending whirlwind of terror, crime and sorrow.

A New York Times photojournalist, Daniel Berehulak, went to Manila back in December of last year for 35 days to document these homicides. Over that time, he captures photos from 57 murders at 41 different locations in the city limits. These locations included sidewalks, train stations, Seven Elevens and even a private, all girls’ school in the more upscale part of suburbs.

In Berehulak’s article, it puts a face to the awful crime swallowing the city, with video proof that police reports of what happened were doctored and false.

This evil spreading over the South Pacific Island is an epidemic that needs to be solved but this violent way of life is proven to create a black hole in our global society that won’t soon be fixed.

About the Writer
Photo of Emma Velesig
Emma Velesig, Layout Editor

My name is Emma Velesig. I am a coffee addict, confused for approximately 23 hours of the day, hungry ALL THE TIME  and this is my story.

Ever since...

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