More than 7,000 people in the Philippines have been killed in President Rodrigo Duterte’s campaign against drugs since July. According to statistics released by the country’s national police, cited by Rappler and Human Rights Watch, more than 2,500 of those slain in the offensive were suspected drug dealers and users; another 3,600-plus were killed by unidentified vigilantes. As the nightly warfare has intensified, so has the haunting coverage by local photographers. TIME asked 12 of them—working independently or for the various wire agencies—to mine their archives, select a picture that particularly impacted them and detail its significance.
Here, their pictures and harrowing accounts: “I Am Seeing My Countrymen Die.”