The Philippines' War On Drugs

The Philippines' War On Drugs

Duterte has been criticized by Human Rights Watch for extrajudicial killings.

President of the Philippines Rodrigo Duterte has been overrunning his campaign on the war on drugs.

Duterte won the presidential election this past June. Fighting to remove drugs off the streets is one of Duterte’s major agendas pushed while running for office.Three months into office, Duterte has been put in a controversial position in his attempts at removing drugs and crime; the main focal point once in his presidency.

The popular illegal drug trade he is trying to remove is a methamphetamine hydrochloride, or “shabu,” the street term. Shabu is also used in other Asian countries such as Japan, Malaysia, Indonesia and in Hong Kong, China.

Rodrigo Duterte has kept his vow with his hardline crackdown on drugs. His Anti-Drug campaign got him a strong voter count that put him in office.

Under speculation, the Filipino president is getting global attention from the amount of death tolls and the possibility of human right violations.

Duterte has been criticized by Human Rights Watch for extrajudicial killings. Among the illegal drug trade, street children, drug dealers and users are involved, and it has led to hundreds of killings and deaths.

Besides the police killings during the several operations of drug eradication, a vigilante group called the Davao Death Squad has executed hundreds of petty criminals with any affiliation of drugs in Davao City, Philippines.

Possibilities of Duterte being involved with and tolerating the vigilante group have been raised due to increased killings during his presidential term. Duterte has actually encouraged the police and citizens to adopt a shoot-to-kill policy.

Human right groups have been arguing that the killings fall under an unwritten government policy to deal with crime, and it avoids the lack of due process within the ill-functioning criminal justice system administered in the country.

On August 18, the United Nations human experts called on the Philippines to put a halt to the extrajudicial killings. Duterte’s response is threatening UN for his country's removal from the United Nations and cutting alliances with other Chinese or African nations in order to continue this violent venture.

This past Friday, Duterte recently made a comparison to himself to one historical political leader: Adolf Hitler. Duterte was making an analogy on how the Nazi leader eliminated 3 million Jews, and he wants to eliminate 3 million drug addicts.This statement has appalled and upset Ronald Lauder, the president of World Jewish Congress, and it is receiving major attention.

Drug abuse is a critical issue, but the statement of Duterte is being criticized as inhumane and outrageous. He has uttered multiple controversial responses to the media and acted cold-hearted towards the international communities whom are opinionated towards his actions and words.

Duterte is trying to eliminate the drug plague within his country. It was never going to be pure or flawless. So far into the drug war crusade, 300 police officers were suspected in the drug trade and have been removed from their duties and will be tried in court.

Nearly 2,000 people have been killed and around 800 have been killed from police operations. There has also been overcrowding in the jails of the Philippines. There are over 4,000 inmates in the Quezon city jail, outside of Manila, the capital of the Philippines.

Duterte’s determination is adamant. Behind all the pursuit, he still received a 91% approval rating at the end of July, largely for his inflexible position. The continuation with the war on drugs will remain as long Duterte is still president.

Cover Image Credit: AP/Getty Images

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I Went To "The Bachelor" Auditions

And here's why you won’t be seeing me on TV.

It’s finally time to admit my guilty pleasure: I have always been a huge fan of The Bachelor.

I can readily admit that I’ve been a part of Bachelor fantasy leagues, watch parties, solo watching — you name it, I’ve gone the whole nine yards. While I will admit that the show can be incredibly trashy at times, something about it makes me want to watch it that much more. So when I found out that The Bachelor was holding auditions in Houston, I had to investigate.

While I never had the intention of actually auditioning, there was no way I would miss an opportunity to spend some time people watching and check out the filming location of one of my favorite TV shows.

The casting location of The Bachelor, The Downtown Aquarium in Houston, was less than two blocks away from my office. I assumed that I would easily be able to spot the audition line, secretly hoping that the endless line of people would beg the question: what fish could draw THAT big of a crowd?

As I trekked around the tanks full of aquatic creatures in my bright pink dress and heels (feeling somewhat silly for being in such nice clothes in an aquarium and being really proud of myself for somewhat looking the part), I realized that these auditions would be a lot harder to find than I thought.

Finally, I followed the scent of hairspray leading me up the elevator to the third floor of the aquarium.

The doors slid open. I found myself at the end of a large line of 20-something-year-old men and women and I could feel all eyes on me, their next competitor. I watched as one woman pulled out her travel sized hair curler, someone practiced answering interview questions with a companion, and a man (who was definitely a little too old to be the next bachelor) trying out his own pick-up lines on some of the women standing next to him.

I walked to the end of the line (trying to maintain my nonchalant attitude — I don’t want to find love on a TV show). As I looked around, I realized that one woman had not taken her eyes off of me. She batted her fake eyelashes and looked at her friend, mumbling something about the *grumble mumble* “girl in the pink dress.”

I felt a wave of insecurity as I looked down at my body, immediately beginning to recognize the minor flaws in my appearance.

The string hanging off my dress, the bruise on my ankle, the smudge of mascara I was sure I had on the left corner of my eye. I could feel myself begin to sweat. These women were all so gorgeous. Everyone’s hair was perfectly in place, their eyeliner was done flawlessly, and most of them looked like they had just walked off the runway. Obviously, I stuck out like a sore thumb.

I walked over to the couches and sat down. For someone who for the most part spent most of the two hours each Monday night mocking the cast, I was shocked by how much pressure and tension I felt in the room.

A cop, stationed outside the audition room, looked over at me. After a brief explanation that I was just there to watch, he smiled and offered me a tour around the audition space. I watched the lines of beautiful people walk in and out of the space, realizing that each and every one of these contestants to-be was fixated on their own flaws rather than actually worrying about “love.”

Being with all these people, I can see why it’s so easy to get sucked into the fantasy. Reality TV sells because it’s different than real life. And really, what girl wouldn’t like a rose?

Why was I so intimidated by these people? Reality TV is actually the biggest oxymoron. In real life, one person doesn’t get to call all the shots. Every night isn’t going to be in a helicopter looking over the south of France. A real relationship depends on more than the first impression.

The best part of being in a relationship is the reality. The best part about yourself isn’t your high heels. It’s not the perfect dress or the great pick-up lines. It’s being with the person that you can be real with. While I will always be a fan of The Bachelor franchise, this was a nice dose of reality. I think I’ll stick to my cheap sushi dates and getting caught in the rain.

But for anyone who wants to be on The Bachelor, let me just tell you: Your mom was right. There really are a lot of fish in the sea. Or at least at the aquarium.

Cover Image Credit: The Cut

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We're All Thinking It, I'm Saying It: Too Many People Are Running For President

I'm all for options, but man, do we really need 24? I mean, I can barely pick a flavor of ice cream at Baskin Robbins let alone a potential President.


There are, currently, 23 Democrats running for President. On the Republican side, there's, of course, Trump, but only one other candidate, former Massachusetts governor Bill Weld. Democrats have a whole range of people running, from senators to congressmen, a former vice-president, and even a spiritual advisor. We can now say that there are DOZENS of people running for President in 2020.

Joe Biden has been leading the pack for quite some time now. He was even leading polls before he announced his campaign. Although he is the frontrunner, there really is no big favorite to win the nomination. Biden has been hovering around the mid-30s in most polls, with Bernie Sanders coming in second. Other minor candidates in the hunt are Elizabeth Warren, Pete Buttigieg, and Kamala Harris.

After the surprising defeat of Hillary Clinton in 2016, Democrats have become electrified and have a mission to take back the White House after winning back the House of Representatives in 2018. There are so many people running in 2020, it seems that it will be hard to focus on who is saying what and why someone believes in something, but in the end, there can only be one candidate. This is the most diverse group of candidates ever, several women are running, people of color, the first out gay candidate, and several more.

There could be a problem when it comes to debate time. I mean, the first debate is next month. Having around 20-plus people on stage at the same time, debating each other kinda sounds like a nightmare. How can someone get their point across in the right amount of time when someone else is going to cut them off? Debates are usually around an hour and a half. So, if you divide it up, each candidate would get just under five minutes to speak. That would be in a perfect world of course.

Democrats seriously believe that they can beat Trump in 2020. They say they have learned from the mistakes of 2016, and have the guts and the momentum to storm back into the White House. By July of next year, there will be only one candidate left. Will they be able to reconcile the divide during the primaries? We will see. It will surely be a fun election cycle, so make sure to have your popcorn ready and your ballot at hand to pick your favorite candidate, no matter what party you lean towards.

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