Violence, Human Rights and Democracy in the Philippines: Historical (dis)contuinities and spatial variations
- Jeroen Adam Ghent University
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With this panel, a set of original papers are being presented delving into the Duterte administration’s use of violence in its various iterations to govern the country. As generally known, since Duterte assumed office in June 2016, a violent campaign has been unleashed against alleged drug users and pushers. Some killings occurred in the course of regular police operations, but many more are extra-judicial killings committed either by vigilantes or police officers. According to the President’s brazen rhetoric, these deaths are simply the price to pay for solving the drug problem. In his election campaign he promised to get rid of drug criminals within six months. He also warned potential voters that “If I become president, there would be no such thing as bloodless cleansing”.
For obvious reasons, this campaign has generated vigorous and polarized debate among policy makers, civil society activists and academics alike. Too often however, these debates have been driven by biased opinions, rather than conclusive data that are based on primary and careful data gathering. With this set of papers, we wish to tackle this lacunae by focusing explicitly on (1) the complex historical (dis)continuities in the use of violence in processes of state formation in the Philippines; clearly these (dis)continuities go beyond the current Duterte regime, (2) the remarkable nation-wide spatial variations in the manner violence is deployed, (3) the multiple and complex outcomes of this violence on everyday societal processes.