Philippine president Rodrigo Duterte, who was ushered into power on July 1, 2016, promised an iron fist, which has manifested in an all-out war on drugs (Iyengar, 2016). As of January 2017, a mere six months since Duterte began his term, his bloody war had already resulted in 7,080 casualties. To date 932,237 drug users and 74,916 low-level dealers have surrendered out of fear of being executed. However, with fewer than 50 accredited rehabilitation facilities in the Philippines, the government was not prepared for the deluge of drug users and pushers who have turned themselves in. Rehabilitation has clearly been absent from Duterte’s anti-drug campaign. His drug war has escalated into a highly divisive huma rights issue, with potentially damaging political implications to those who may oppose it. At the same time, it brings to light the glaring inability of the international community to meaningfully respond to the absurdity that is happening in the Philippines amidst very strong calls from organisations such as Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International. While the goal of this paper is to provide policy recommendations with a human rights-based approach, the author acknowledges that these recommendations will only be seriously considered by a government that is open to seeing the drug problem as a holistic public policy issue and not a purely criminal issue.
How to Cite:
Bombarda, A., 2018. In the aftermath of Duterte’s war: A public policy perspective. The Public Sphere: Journal of Public Policy, 6(1), pp.203–233.