The casualties from the war on drugs being waged by Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte continue to mount, with latest figures showing that more than 2,400 alleged drug users and drug dealers have been killed since he launched the bloody campaign just over two months ago.
Figures released by the Philippine National Police (PNP) on Sunday showed that 1,011 alleged drug users and dealers have been killed in police operations since Duterte began his six-year term on July 1, Agence France-Presse reports. A far higher number — 1,391 — has been chalked up to "deaths under investigation," most of them believed to have been killed by vigilantes.
The 71-year-old was elected by a landslide in early May on a campaign promise to rid the Southeast Asian nation of crime, particularly the drug trade. He has exhorted his citizens to "kill drug dealers" themselves and told police that he will support them wholeheartedly in doing so as well.
The results of his invective have been shocking, with an average of around 37 people per day killed in extrajudicial fashion. Representatives from the U.N. as well as international human-rights groups have condemned the rampant slaughter, to which Duterte's response has been dismissive.
"I don't care about human rights, believe me," he said in early August.
Duterte has threatened to impose martial law if his antidrug campaign is obstructed. Following a bombing in his hometown Davao last week by suspected Islamist militants, which killed 14 people and wounded around 70, he declared a "state of lawlessness" that could see the police and military behave with further impunity in the weeks to come.