Amee Chew on Philippines Under Duterte

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Protest at Philippines consulate in New York (cc photo: VOCAL-NY/Wikimedia)

This week on CounterSpin: A March Washington Post article about Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte said:

As of December, more than 5,000 people have been slain because of Duterte’s war on drugs, according to officials. That number, however, is significantly lower than the estimate given by human rights groups, which put the casualties at closer to 12,000 or even 20,000.

Note the passivity of “have been slain,” and the choice to lead with an official death toll, rather than human rights groups’ less self-interested numbers. The “12,000” figure provides a link to a Human Rights Watch report that has never been the subject of a Washington Post news story.

Among many things such reporting wouldn’t lead you to suspect: Two years ago, when the Philippine Senate tried to cut funding for the campaign of state and state-sanctioned violence, for which the toll of “even 20,000” is almost certainly conservative, it was the United States that stepped in with the money to fill the shortfall. That’s a direct line from your tax dollars to the leader who said, “Hitler massacred 3 million Jews…. There’s 3 million drug addicts. There are. I’d be happy to slaughter them.”

Corporate media don’t talk much about the Philippines, much less about the US responsibility there. A recent piece from Foreign Policy in Focus, headlined “It’s Time to End US Military Aid to the Philippines,” filled some of that void. We’ll hear from its author, Mellon-ACLS public fellow Amee Chew, and hear also from two Filipino activist/organizers, Ed Cubelo and Mong Palatino.

80 episodes available. A new episode about every 6 days averaging 28 mins duration .