Duterte and the Philippines

Outspoken and foul-mouthed, President Rodrigo Duterte makes no bones about his approach to the drug problem in the Philippines. He has run out of jails, he says, so drug users had better stay at home indoors. Otherwise they will be killed.

He means it, and already thousands of corpses have borne witness to his determination.

But are these victims drug dealers and users, or are they to a large extent the targets of gang rivalries and violence? And how likely is it that the targeting of the poor will break up the drug trade?

The war on drugs—based as it openly is on extrajudicial killings—has so far proved immensely popular in the country at large, while Duterte has publicly compared himself (approvingly) with Hitler.

In the months since its inception, Duterte's presidency has proved far bloodier than that of Ferdinand Marcos. Those in the crowded prisons are said to consider themselves lucky to be alive.

Meet the Journalist: James Fenton

James Fenton discusses reporting on President Duterte's violent war on drugs in the Philippines. The number of casualties in a 7-month period reached 7,000 following the president's election.