A Literal Drug War: The Philippines

We need to keep talking about the Philippines and their literal war on drugs, predicated by President Rodrigo Duterte. We're joined by a trio of journalists who have covered this subject, both on the ground and within the presidential palace, but also how this fits in relation to international drug policy.


  • Jonathan Miller is Channel 4 News' Asia Correspondent and author of the biography Duterte Harry (which you can hear in a previous episode).
  • Livvy Haycock is a friend of the podcast and a brave filmmaker who has been on the ground in the region, alongside gangs and victims alike, her film The Deadliest Place to Deal is a must watch.
  • Avinash Tharoor is a journalist, editor of TalkingDrugs.org, and a staff member at Release (Avinash has now moved on to new projects and we thank him for being part of this podcast and we wish him well in future endeavours).


So where do we begin? President Rodrigo Duterte has mercilessly declared an all-out war on drugs in his country, the results of this have meant that murder on the streets is now commonplace. The only thing is.... drugs are being used simply to frame suspects and people in venerable positions. If you're not liked, then a drugs warrant for your arrest (or worse) may be knocking at the door.


This is one of those episodes that we can't stress enough just how important it is to keep talking about what's really going on.

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