New York Times reports on the rise of vigilantism in the Philippines

rodrigo duterte new york times
A photo of Jennelyn Olaires, partner of alleged drug user Michael Siaron, has made it to the front page of New York Times for August 3

A photo taken from the Philippines has made it to the front page of The New York Times for August 3. Taken by Reuters photojournalist Czar Dancel, the image shows a woman named Jennilyn Olayres weeping over the body of her husband, Michael Siaron, who was killed in Manila last July.

Near his dead body was a piece of cardboard with the words “Pusher ako, huwag tularan” (“I’m a pusher. Don’t be like me.”) written on it, which means he was subjected to summary execution by a still-unidentified vigilante group. An article titled “Body count rises as Philippine president wages War on Drugs” (written by Jason Gutierrez) accompanies the harrowing photo.

According to a tally by the Philippine Daily Inquirer, 465 suspected criminals have been killed in a similar manner since President Rodrigo Duterte took office last June 30. Duterte, a former mayor of Davao City, has made fighting drugs and crimes the foundation of his presidential campaign.

rodrigo duterte new york times
A photo of Jennelyn Olaires cradling the dead body of her partner, alleged drug user Michael Siaron, has made it to the front page of New York Times for August 3

Interestingly, the photo used published in the front page of the NYT was first published in the PDI. In his first State of the Nation Address last week, Duterte slammed the said newspaper for seemingly portraying the scene similar to Michaelangelo’s sculpture “Pieta,” which shows the Virgin Mary cradling the dead body of Jesus Christ after He died on the cross. “Nagda-dramahan lang tayo dito,” the President said.

Given his landslide victory and subsequent sky-high approval ratings, it is obvious that the vast majority of Filipinos are fine with his iron-fist approach to fighting illegal drugs. It remains to be seen if that support will continue to hold given the flak the conduct of the War on Drugs has received from local critics and the international community.

Apart from NYT, Duterte’s vigorous war on drugs has already been reported in other international media outlets including The Australian, CNN, Time Magazine, Wall Street Journal, Russia Today, BBC, The Guardian, Singapore’s The Straits Times, and South China Morning Post.

 

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About Mark Madrona 1191 Articles
Mark Madrona is a prize-winning blogger, online journalist, and educator from the Philippines. Previously a book editor, he is now teaching communication subjects for two public universities in Manila. His blog The Filipino Scribe won 3rd place in a blog competition organized by the Affiliated Network for Social Accountability in East Asia and the Pacific (ANSA-EAP). In 2015, it was one of the finalists in the 2015 Lasallian Scholarum Awards for Best Online Feature Article in Youth and Education. He also won the Best Blog Award during the 2011 Population and Development Media Awards, the youngest recipient of that recognition. Know more about him here: http://www.filipinoscribe.com/about/.

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