Rodrigo Duterte was already known as a tough guy when he became president of the Philippines last June, a reputation that has solidified through his administration’s war on drugs.
He entered office with the nickname “Duterte Harry” – inspired by the San Francisco cop played by Clint Eastwood on the silver screen. That stemmed from Duterte’s reputation for coming down hard on illegal drugs and narcotics users in his hometown of Davao City in the south, where he served as mayor for more than 22 years.
During his presidency, Duterte has declared a nationwide war on drugs, and it has been bloody.
Police officers so far have killed almost 2,800 people in purported gun battles, while another 6,000 deaths of suspected drug dealers and users are being investigated, according to reports from news outlets and human rights organizations.
Duterte has made no apologies for the killings, but he also has denied allegations that these extra-judicial deaths are state-sponsored.
In the meantime, business has been brisk for funeral homes, as the drug-related killings have kept Filipino undertakers and embalmers busy.
The campaign against drugs has caused suffering among Filipinos who’ve lost loved ones.