In Brief

Rodrigo Duterte steps up his bloody drug war

Police in the Philippines shoot dead 13 people and arrest 100 more in a single day

Officers in the Philippines killed more than a dozen people during a major anti-drug operation yesterday, a police chief has confirmed.

More than 100 suspected drug dealers and users were also arrested during a series of raids in the Bulacan province, just north of the capital Manila, the Associated Press reports.

“These operations are part of our stepped-up campaign against drugs and all other forms of criminality in the province,” Bulacan police chief Romeo Caramat said in a statement yesterday. “Unfortunately, 13 of the suspects were killed when our officers fired in self-defence.”

The killings are the latest in a long and bloody war on drugs waged by President Rodrigo Duterte since he came to power in 2016.

Duterte has authorised police to crack down on illegal drug use, urging them to kill suspects and promising to protect them from prosecution. He has also endorsed murderous vigilante gangs.

Human Rights Watch estimates that more than 12,000 suspected drug users and dealers have been killed by police and vigilantes. Many of the victims are from poor families in urban centres.

Earlier this month, Duterte ordered police and soldiers not to cooperate with international groups investigating mass killings.

“When it comes to human rights, or whoever rapporteur it is, my order to you: Do not answer. Do not bother,” he told elite armed police units in Davao.

His warning came after an International Criminal Court prosecutor opened a preliminary examination into a complaint accusing Duterte and top officials of crimes against humanity.

“Duterte says he welcomes that and is willing to ‘rot in jail’ to protect Filipinos,” Reuters reports.

The president later announced that the Philippines would be withdrawing from the ICC. He called on other nations to follow suit.

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