Fil-Am Labor Group Slams Duterte’s War on Drugs

A Filipino-American labor advocate group has slammed the war on drugs by the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte.

Associate Director Lolita Lledo of the Los Angeles-based Pilipino Workers Center said her group is unhappy over the killings in the Philippines brought about by the administration’s campaign against illegal drugs.

“Hindi ako natutuwa na pinapatay mga drug addicts. Dapat tinutulungan. Ang tanong namin, bakit puro mahihirap ang namamatay? Wala bang drug addict na mayaman?” Lledo said.

Lledo suggested that it would be better if the government strike its iron fist on the top level of the drug cartels.

“Bakit hindi niya i-concentrate sa mga drug lords? Kung ganon papalakpak pa kami, pero parang mali yata ang tinutungo ng kampanya niya, yung war on drugs,” she said.

More than 7,600 people have been killed since Duterte unleashed a ferocious crackdown seven months ago, with more than 2,500 killed in police raids and sting operations.

Kim Murphy, a 2004 Pulitzer Prize-winning editor of the Los Angeles Times said the big number of killings in the Philippines is something that has shocked the US.

“Frankly, a lot of Americans were shocked at the measures he (Duterte) was taking, the extra-judicial measures to try to get the country’s drug and crime problem under control,” Murphy said.

“Every story my reporters proposed to me out of the Philippines right now is an automatic yes. We’re very interested and so does our readership,” she added.

Murphy said, they have always been interested in some of the very aggressive statements Duterte makes, including one that really bewildered her.

“We were very shocked when he admitted, not too long ago, that he himself has been responsible for taking out some drug criminals,” Murphy said.

LA times Managing Editor Marc Duvoisin, meanwhile, said people in the west can’t help but equate Duterte with the country’s dictator, the late Ferdinand Marcos.

“We are not accustomed to hearing a head of government to speak that way. People are quite surprised, it has some elements of throwback to the time of Marcos,” he said.