CHR report that the Philippine Government’s “war on drugs targets the poor” is a lie


In a report submitted to the United Nations the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) reportedly asserts that the Philippine Government’s war on drugs targets the poor.

Citing statements made by Philippine National Police (PNP) Director General Ronald “Bato” M. dela Rosa during a Senate inquiry, the CHR also noted that more than a thousand deaths occurrred during police operations.

“As of 15 September 2016, there are 2,035 deaths under investigation by the Philippine National Police, and 1,105 people killed during police operations,” the CHR said in its written statement on the occasion of the UN Committee on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights’ scheduled review of the Philippines.

Data released by the PNP over the weekend indicates that the latter number has increased to 1,216 as of September 24.

How exactly the CHR arrived at the conclusion that the Philippine Government “targets the poor” is not entirely clear, however. The Philippines, after all, is a poor country. According to a June 2015 survey conducted by Ibon Foundation, 7 out of 10 Filipinos are poor. This means when one takes a statistical cross section of Filipino activities and events, there will generally be about 70 percent in the sample who are poor.

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When one walks on Manila’s streets, there is a 70 percent chance the next Filipino you bump into will be poor. When you walk into an SM Mall, it is likely that about 70 percent of Filipinos you find there will be poor. Filipinos involved in drugs, in drug pushing, and with drug syndicates, by virtue of this community being a subset of the Philippine population will likely be 70 percent poor. In the case of the latter, the figure will likely be higher. Poverty and an impoverishment of the mind brought about by substandard education makes one more predisposed to drug addiction and drug-related crimes than average.

This means more than 70 percent of Filipinos killed in Duterte’s “war on drugs” would likely be poor. The question is, does a high percentage victims of the drug war in the Philippines being poor mean that this war necessarily “targets the poor”?

Not at all.

If North Korea dropped an atomic bomb on Manila and it killed 10 million Filipinos there, about 7 million of the dead would likely be poor if the Ibon Foundation survey result holds. On that basis, could we conclude that the North Korean attack “targeted the poor”? Of course not.

And so therein lies the abject irresponsibility in the reporting we are seeing in both local and foreign news media today. The framing of the arguments is consistently wrong and, as a result, the conclusions published as “news reports” are wrong.

A safer conclusion to make based on actual facts is that so-called “journalists” writing what passes off as “news” nowadays are backward engineering their “evidence” from pre-meditated political agendas. Rather than draw conclusions scientifically from hard balanced evidence, “evidence” is cherry-picked to suit the preferred conclusion.

It takes a hard-working mind to apply true critical evaluation faculties to sift through the deluge of information nowadays. Unfortunately, Philippine society is not exactly known for cognitive heavy-lifting. Instead, ours is a society of lazy debate and sloppy thinking. As such, notions like “war on drugs targets the poor” resonate and are lapped up as gospel “truth” by the public.

[Photo courtesy ABC News.]

32 Replies to “CHR report that the Philippine Government’s “war on drugs targets the poor” is a lie”

  1. You have a point, but the war against drugs somehow targets the poor because the high profile drug lords can just get away in any country they want and the police can’t even arrest them.

  2. I don’t see why they have to point out that the poor is targeted. Will they have not cared if the rich were targeted instead? It should not matter at all, A “Human”‘s right is violated, rich or poor.

    1. It’s because targeting the the actual powerhouses in the illegal drug trade is more effective in the battle against drugs.

      Targetting nobodies isn’t as impactful

  3. Actually its not focused on the poor, it is not evm a war targeting only the poor , it just happen that large part of it are the poor , for every 1000 poor addict perhaps we find only 10 people from the rich , besides the rich seldom or never engage in peddling, they only use it for pleasure, if we can call that pleasure. While the poor to suatain their addiction they should resort to criminality and that is waht this war is all aboout, we can never totally eradicate addiction but if we can minimize the selling of drugs in the street and limit only to some sector its usage, way might then reduce street criminality, like rape, contract killing , robbery resulting to murder, and any other street crimes, the rich will not engage much on these kind of criminality, they can afford to pay prostitutes , they can afford to pay drugs…kaya hindi tamang sabinin thats its targeting only the poor sadya lang na nasa mahihirap ang mas maraming adik kaya sila nasasagasaan , mas discreet pa ang mga mayayaman , kasi they have a reputation to protect unlike mga mahihirap ipinagmamalaki pa nila ang pagiging adik at tulak , its a character na mas nagsiga sigahan pa sila in their communities kaya alam ng lahat. The sar on drug is meant to reduce our crimes, not about the poor

    1. The high-profile drug lords can easily get away because their money can help them escape, while the poor doesn’t have that kind of money to bribe so they die and get killed easily.

    2. High-profile drug lords can easily get away because their money can help them escape, while the poor doesn’t have that kind of money to bribe so they die and get killed easily.

      1. @Joseph. Based on what you’ve said, the only ones the War on Drugs are capturing and killing are the pawns—not the king and queen, nor the bishops, knights, and rooks of the illegal drugs industry. Sounds like a stalemate or a draw where there are no winners.

  4. Parang ganito lang yan we have 1000 criminals, from these number 990 are filipinos and 10 people are chinese. If we kill all of them huwag natin sabihin that we massacre the filipinos , it just happen na mas marami sila, ganyan din sa war on drug large part are the poor and the lesser part ay ang mga mayaman , kaya mas maraming nasasagasaan na mahihirap. At ang masama mga mas gumagawa ng krimen ay ang mga mahihirap , like robbery , rape , murder kasi they need the money to sustain their addiction , sa mga mayayaman they can afford to buy drugs without resorting to criminality,and again mas discreet ang mga mayaman,mas bulgar mga mahirap , kaya tukoy sila

    1. Hindi rin gano’n kadali i-pigeonhole ang isyu kasi maraming factors. Hayaan mong ipakita ko sa ‘yo kung ano ang ibig kong sabihin. Kung ‘yung sinasabi mong example of 1000 (990-Pinoy; 10-Chinese) that were massacred, if they are all residents of Forbes Park, the coverage would be about affluent people killed. After that will follow the details on identification, so on and so forth.

      Ngayon, you repeat that 5 or ten or 15 times in, let’s say, Bel-Air, Magallanes Village, Rockwell, Dasmarinas Village, Valle Verde, Corinthian, etc. the headline will eventually read: “Rich People are on the Run”. Kita mo ang difference diba? The entire scenario completely changed.

  5. Most of those used by Drug Lords, to be become Drug Traffickers, are poor.

    So, the casualties are mostly poor. Cojuangco Aquino and De Lima, who are being investigated on this Drug Manufacture and Selling, have profited a lot of money from the poor !

  6. I think it is not really hard to understand the article’s push back on the CHR report about the gov’t.’s war on drugs allegedly targeting the poor. One, it puts the country in a negative light. Secondly, bad news consequently unfavorably impacts the Duterte administration. And if such scenario is not arrested the domino effect will really present problems for the country.

    However, dismissing a report that was “not entirely clear” as a lie stands on shaky ground. If it is “not entirely clear” it only means it could go either way. So, what do we do? I think a simple analysis will go a long way.

    If we look at the logic presented, what the article was really saying was the report is true. The poor gets to be the targeted because they are the majority. The only thing missing was the expression of regret. But what complicates the matter was the analogies given to justify why the poor bear the brunt on the war on drugs really disappoints instead of convincing the observers. Let me explain.

    It said that when you walk the streets of Manila, chances are, you’ll bump a poor. It could be true especially when you are out in the street “with the intention to bump”. Inversely, even if you are the only one in the street where there are one thousand poor people walking, you will not be able to bump them if you don’t want to and vice-versa. ????

    Same with the example of North Korea. If she drops a bomb in Manila a lot of poor people will die, it says, hence, it’s natural. However, regardless of how many poor or rich were killed it will not be seen as targeting either class because the actor (Sokor), event and the intention is different. Let say she dropped a bomb in Chinatown were 100% of those killed were Chinese. It will not be seen as targeting the Chinese. It will be reported as North Korea attacking the Philippines.

    Sometimes analogies, instead of clarifying gets to obscure the issue. Let us not forget the ‘intent’ factor in the whole matter. I say that because when we say “targeting” it implies intent. When you target you plan; you focus and you expect results base on the plan you set up.

    And that’s the reason why I think the CHR report is based on some concrete ground. We all know the police conducts operations routinely in the pursuit of the goal on the war on drugs. And I’m sure no one will disagree that standard police operations are not random. They are well-planned in advance supported by intelligence sources. So if most or if all police operations are conducted in slum or squatter areas, what else do we expect to come out of it? Naturally, majority of the casualties will be poor.

    And, c’mon, let’s face it, poor are easy targets. They are the convenient guinea pigs every time there is a law and order drive. Take note, I’m not saying the poor are innocents I’m just saying they get to take the punches because they are always in the ring, so to speak.

    To balance the undoing, perceived or otherwise, on the part of the government, the authorities should start raiding the enclaves of the rich people who happen to be criminals if there are any. Better still, start arresting/killing rich people who are known drug lords or smugglers. It is only when that happens that the impression of the poor having target boards on their chests will slowly dissipate. Hopefully. ????

  7. @Pro Pinoy’s G. Nuiguid A.K.A. “gnogid:

    You are just wasting your time here … maybe the Chinese Triad Drug Mafia, has paid you a lot of Shabu Drug money, to blog here…people don’t believe what you are writing !

    Soon , you will be in jail with De Lima, Aquino , Mar Roxas, etc…How much kilos of Shabu did you transact today, G. Nuguid ?

  8. It is dangerous to spring to obvious conclusions about war on drugs or, for that matter, drug lords/traffickers/pusher/users. The war on drugs is not an obvious game.

    Failipinos who are quickly jumping into conclusions than listening to the reason and answer been given. Is because they are looking at themselves at what they would have done in that situation. They are judging themselves but letting one take the blame, fault and punishment for it.

    Failipinos could argue for hours on almost any subject; they usually agreed on broad conclusions, but disagreed on almost every detail. To focus solely on endings is to trade conclusions for the very beginnings that created them. And if this cycle should persist, Failipinos will likewise miss the beginning that will follow this ending.

    Facts and science without the presence of wisdom and reason are worth a little less than nothing, while wisdom and reason without the presence of facts and science are worth far more than people without wisdom and reason are capable to expect.

    No one can be a great thinker who does not recognize that as a thinker it is his first duty to follow his intellect to whatever conclusions it may lead. Follow the evidence to where it leads, even if the conclusion is uncomfortable.

  9. Instead of CHR, why can’t we hear words from anti-drug orgs or groups? They were making noise back in the days of Goma’s MAD (Mamamayan Ayaw sa Droga). When can we hear the drug lord protectors face charges?

    1. Actually, why can’t they be “summoned” like how the PNP “summoned” the “poor” drug pushers/small time syndicate killed? Can’t they hold same evidence for them the way they did to pursue drug criminals? Would these big timers resist and shoot back?

  10. NO, its not a lie. Duterte is targetting the street level drug dealers and addicts and leaving the thieving Oligarchs,energy speculators,thieving Weasel Politicians and most hypocritically of all, the REAL DRUG-LORDS alone. SO HOW DO YOU SQUARE THAT CIRCLE THEIR BUDDY ?

    1. Duterte is not the one targeting the pushers and peddlers. He’s trying to save them. He gave them all an opportunity to surrender which hundreds of thousands took. The ones you see getting killed are those being killed by their bosses or by officials and police trying to cover their tracks. Duterte wants to protect these people because he wants them to point to their sources, just like Herbert Colangco. Sadly, the people getting killed are simply too stupid for their own good.

      Another large portion of people getting killed are those killed resisting arrest. Yeah, good. They got what was coming to them. Their time as pasiga is over.

      1. “Duterte is not the one targeting the pushers and peddlers. He’s trying to save them. He gave them all an opportunity to surrender which hundreds of thousands took.”

        That sounds like targeting them (pushers and peddlers) with his (Duterte) intention to win the War on Drugs.

        Unfortunately, Duterte’s enemies are also targeting the pushers and peddlers with their guns and bullets to make him look bad. So he really needs to shift his sight and target the masterminds of the illegal drugs industry, instead of the pushers and peddlers.

        Just a suggestion.

      2. @ Dick, and when someone that doesn’t like you accusse’s you of being a drug dealer and you get shot, IT WILL BE GOOD FOR YOU, EH ? You have the mind of a 5 year old. There are laws that protect people from the state for a reason, when they kick in your front door, for no good fuckin reason, what are you going to do?

        1. No one will ever accuse me of being a drug dealer. I’m not “too stupid for my own good.” Sorry for those who got involved and couldn’t quit drugs. Yup, they may have been cool and were the neighborhood pasiga for a while, but now they are running scared for their lives. Too stupid to live, I’m sorry.

        2. @ DICK, its your constitution being thrown under the bus, NOT MINE. IDGAS really if Détente kills half the people in the country over some bullshit he makes up in his sleep. Just remember, their is a constitution in the country that supposedly guarantees ALL citizens the rights of ‘due process’.Just going out and killing people based on suspicion of using or selling some fake-ass drugs is not only MORONIC, but also against the law of the land…and meanwhile, the real criminals continue to do as they do on a daily basis,FRONT-RUN the stock market,energy speculators etc etc….

    1. Whether it’s a War on Drugs or War on Poverty, the collateral damage will always be the “defenseless masses.” It’s time to go after the king, queen, bishops, knights, and rooks; not the pawns.

    1. @ Revo, NO SHIT, you don’t see any of the Tan;s or SY’s or Ensile’s,Aquino’s etc etc being shot in the streets….

  11. Connect the dots:

    1. Last week, the yellow CHR Chairman Chito Gascon was in the Netherlands. He said this in the text message that he sent to Senator Dick Gordon, which Gordon read aloud at the last Senate hearing on EJKs that was aired on TV.

    2. During that Senate hearing, Leila de Lima spent a lot of time asking the PNP and PDEA about the procedures, forms, and documents used for Oplan Tokhang. It was almost like De Lima was looking for anything that she can hold up as “evidence” of state-sponsored killing (e.g. forms signed by Oplan Tokhang surrenderees who turned up dead later on; narco lists submitted by barangay captains that contained names of drug pushers who were eventually killed in police ops). Watch De Lima’s questioning from 4:26:50 of this video.

    3. Today, the ICC (International Criminal Court), which is based in the Netherlands, issued a statement that basically warns that it might file charges against President Duterte for inciting state-sponsored violence.

    4. Gascon and De Lima have been threatening to call in the ICC since President Duterte came to office. Some pro-Duterte online commentators have been saying for months that, since the yellows and their foreign co-plotters don’t have the numbers to stage another people power, they will follow the Africa template and use the ICC to remove President Duterte.

    I’m not an expert, just a news junkie, but common sense tells me it’s only a matter of time before the ICC files actual charges. After all, there’s a reason why all this noise about Duterte is being whipped up in the international media. Whether or not there’s actual evidence is beside the point. This isn’t about truth or justice. This is a power play.

    I think it would be better for President Duterte’s team to assume that the ICC case is a done deal, and plan ahead. The key is to make sure Leni Robredo is out of the equation, so President Duterte stays in control and no yellows take over even if an ICC case is filed. Duterte has a talent for turning his enemies’ attacks to his advantage. I won’t be surprised if he turns the tables on them once again.

    As a Filipino citizen, I’m enraged at the thought that any outside entity thinks it can trample over the sovereign will of the Filipino people—especially a self-righteous outside entity that is suffering from a lot of credibility issues of its own.

    Google “ICC credibility”, you’ll find it very interesting. Also, the ICC actually had to drop the charges they filed against President Kenyatta of Kenya in 2014. He is still the President of Kenya. Also worth reading about.

    1. I wonder what Chito Gascon was doing in the Netherlands. Must have been smoking some of the strong stuff over there.

    2. ICC cannot do anything about the ISIS Caliphate; Lybia; Syria; Yemen ;North Korea; Somalia; etc…

      It is just a “Bogeymen” commission, used by De Lima and her Drug Lord cahoots. ICC must refrain from meddling in the political affairs of our country.

      We don’t want any foreign entity to meddle in our country…we have the Cory Aquino’s EDSA, as a lesson.

      What has Cory Aquino EDSA led to ? Oligarch monopoly; Massacres; Hacienda Luisita protection; Land Reform Program stopped; widespread corruption…the worse: we become a NARCO Republic !

      Get out of our political affairs, ICC ! You are a tool of De Lima and her Drug Lords !

    3. “state-sponsored violence”

      like when the government warrant you to own a gun and when you go psycho you can kill or terrorize as many civilians as you want or when you’re military force bomb a foreign city full of civilians because it cuddles a terrorist group or when you send your young free-spirited soldiers to get killed in war?

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