Recently elected Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s aggressive war on drugs has killed more than 400 people in the past month. And on Friday morning, furious after visiting a town where suspected drug dealers shot a police chief in the chest, Duterte told reporters that he had given police orders to shoot to kill when they come across anyone they believe to be involved in drug trade.
“I’ll really have you killed,” he said Friday. “My order is shoot to kill you. I don’t care about human rights, you better believe me.”
Activists have urged Duterte to scale back his countrywide hunt for drug dealers in order to give suspects an opportunity for due process and a fair trial before they are executed on the country’s streets. But Duterte has not relented.
He promised on the campaign trail that he would halt the drug trade after six months, and in addition to the 400 already killed, another 4,400 have been arrested.
And, according to officials in Duterte’s camp, some 500,000 people have turned themselves into authorities to avoid being violently targeted by the police. Those numbers were made public by Duterte’s administration and have not been confirmed by outside parties.
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