The Philippines is an international transit capital for drugs, and has been home to the Philippine Drug War since July 2016. After assuming office in June of the same year, President Rodrigo Duterte believed that anti-drug policies should be implemented immediately. He urged both the public and police enforcement to kill drug dealers, many of which were extrajudicial. Despite Duterte inciting these killings to decrease drug crime rates, at least 8,000 deaths have surfaced; of which 2,500 have been attributed to the Philippine National Police.
The main demographic being affected by these policies are young poor urban males. Police in the Philippines do not need any arrest warrants prior to conducting house raids, and simply coerce suspects into making self-incriminating remarks. The government has done very little to address the needs of children affected by this crisis; many are left with no choice but to work, sometimes left homeless – exposing themselves to danger, and violence.
Oftentimes, youth are either targeted or inadvertently killed but are excused by police as "collateral damage". This sparked the outrage of numerous human rights activists around the world, condemning Duterte's actions, and urging investigations to improve transparency. According to the Philippine Department of Justice, in January 2019, only 76 deaths have led to investigations, and only one case – the killing of a 17-year-old captured on video – resulted in a conviction. This demonstrates the corruption within both the Philippine government and the justice system – how they are targeting poorer demographics in efforts to please the richer, more supportive population. The government is trying to convey how they are eradicating drug lords, as they continue to harm and oppress the less fortunate communities. As many children witness the murders and incarcerations of their own parents, they suffer long-term consequences such as psychological and geological impacts; children must leave their communicates for a safer location.
Duterte and his government have been disregarding the safety and wellbeing of the entire population. Additionally, Duterte's government has commonly received accusations of exerting brutal force in cracking down on drugs and crime. Even after many suggestions for an investigation, the President has never cooperated in having others scrutinize the killings from his anti-drug crackdown. However, the UN's High Commissioner for Human Rights has been calling for an independent domestic investigation into these claims of unjust murders, potentially unveiling the accurate and long overdue information.