When Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte promised to wage war against drugs just after winning the elections in July 2016, it was not long until bodies started showing up dead on the streets of Manila.

During the first six months of the war, an average of five people were killed in one night. Within a year, the death toll reached thousands. 


Hitler massacred three million Jews. Now, there is three million drug addicts. I’d be happy to slaughter them.
— President Rodrigo Duterte, Sept 2018

Minors, activists, even priests have also been targeted by Duterte’s war.

While many were killed by unknown gunmen, this culture of violence that the government continuously tolerates has given anyone with a gun the license to kill.

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As of late 2018, at least 20,000 Filipinos have been killed under the guise of Duterte’s war on drugs.

Thousands of Filipino children are now orphaned and left to survive with their widowed mothers in impoverished communities.


Photos from this set have been published/presented in The New York Review of Books, TOPIC, The Cable Public Affairs Channel, and TIME (online).