Philippines: Death toll in Duterte’s war on drugs

Police records and data gathered by Al Jazeera show close to 6,000 killed since new president took office on June 30.

Map outside image Duterte Drug killings Torque

*This story was first published on August 25. Last updated on December 13.

*Police records show 5,882 people were killed across the country since Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte took office on June 30. Of that number 2,041 drug suspects were killed during police operations from July 1 to December 6, while another 3,841 were killed by unknown gunmen from July 1 to November 30, according to a local website. Among the latest fatalities was a seven-year-old child on the island of Cebu, who was hit by a stray bullet on December 3, while unknown gunmen were chasing a teenage boy accused of selling drugs.  

*Based on other sources collected by Al Jazeera, there have been an estimated 5,946 deaths. The number does not include cases still to be reported by police or news outlets in the provinces after December 6.  

*Al Jazeera has gathered the information of 1,485 people who were killed and the cause of their deaths.

Almost six months into the presidency of Rodrigo Duterte, police records and data gathered by Al Jazeera show the death toll in his anti-drug war has almost reached 6,000.

Despite the mounting toll, Duterte was quoted as saying on Monday that fewer people were being killed, adding “most of them have been finished off anyway, I am not kidding”.

On Tuesday, he announced the release of $20m to fund the medicine for patients undergoing drug rehabilitation. 

Recently, human rights groups and activists have denounced the Philippine leader for “steamrolling the rule of law”

Top clerics of the Catholic Church have also stepped up criticism against Duterte’s drug war policy, while expressing opposition to his plan to re-impose the death penalty on heinous crimes, including drug-related offences

INFOGRAPHIC: Who’s liable for the mounting death toll?

In August, Duterte hailed his anti-drug campaign saying of the three million suspected drug dependents in the country, 600,000 have turned themselves in to authorities.  

While saying it does not condone extra-judicial killings, the office of the president said the country should “seize the momentum” in its campaign against illegal drugs. 

Duterte took his oath as president on June 30 and has vowed to keep his campaign promise of solving the country’s illegal drug problem, saying, “I don’t care about human rights, believe me.”

As of December 13, an Al Jazeera investigation has collected information from 1,485 people who were killed across the country.

Sources: Al Jazeera, Philippine Daily Inquirer, Sun Star Newspaper, Philippine Star, GMA News TV, Rappler, ABS-CBN News, Abante Tonite