During the plenary session on drug policy reform in the 25th International Harm Reduction Conference in Montreal, Canada, Senator Risa Hontiveros, a leading health advocate in the Philippines presented how the new administration has proposed the whole gamut of drug policy reforms that aims to strengthen Duterte’s crime and punishment approaches. As an alternative to his reforms, Senator Hontiveros has filed the “Public Health Intervention for Drug Use Act of 2017”, that would institutionalize life saving harm reduction policies. Watch the full video below:
Duterte must be stopped!
Shortly after being sworn into office on June 30, 2016, Durterte ramped up the war on drugs with a campaign called ‘OPLAN TOKHANG’ – a portmanteau of two words meaning ‘to knock’ and ‘to plead’. Suspected drug users and pushers were hunted at all hours; and mostly shot dead. Their corpses were mummified and displayed in the streets with placards reading “Pusher or drug user – don’t be like me” as a warning.
One year on, the word has been witness to over 12,000 murders, 1,200,000 surrenders and 64,000 arrests of people who use or are suspected of using drugs. More than 60% of these killings have reportedly been carried out by masked vigilante gunmen. Prisons are cramped and those in prisons are subject to an extremely slow-moving national judiciary system.
Duterte’s war on drugs has effectively given him a license to kill and promoted a culture of impunity. It has disproportionately affected low-income and marginalized communities in the Philippines. Duterte’s war on drugs has not only led to mass murder and incarceration, but has destroyed peace, security and the lives of families and communities. It has hurt the dignity of individuals who believe that every human life is valuable and their rights must be protected.
We call on national and international human rights advocates, UN agencies, member states, media and individuals who believe that every human life is of value to take action.
Duterte’s regime has shown us the worst of humanity; cruelty, degradation and persecution of people who use drugs and communities. We need not fear because there is only one thing that can happen to us now – WE RISE.