Half a year into the so-called drug war in the Philippines, I interviewed two elderly women in outer Metro Manila near the airport. Both had lost sons when unidentified persons shot them down. Both feared for their own lives because they were confident the local police were behind the killings and because they were determined to demand justice, even though they were almost as sure they would never achieve it.

After spending the day in their (deeply impoverished) neighborhood, I went to one of the oldest and most expensive gated communities in Metro Manila, Forbes Park, where I was invited to a reception with Danish diplomats and expats. That night I was told that I should stop writing so much about the war on drugs and the extrajudicial killings. Instead, I should write about all the good things President Rodrigo Duterte did.

Before I regained my composure after hearing diplomats from a country boasting of his freedom of expression, telling a journalist what to write about and what not, another diplomat followed up: “You know, the war on drugs doesn't really affect our daily lives . "

Wow, no shit, Sherlock. However, how could it also affect everyday life in Forbes Park? But for the two women who mourned the loss of their sons in a poor squatter area just a few train stations away from this well-guarded neighborhood, it affects pretty much everyday life.

Facts and focus

At times, however, it may seem as if everything has already been said about. . .



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