WASHINGTON – The Philippines has dropped in the 2016 world freedom rankings and may be approaching a turning point in its democratic trajectory due to thousands of extrajudicial killings carried out as part of President Duterte’s war on drugs, according to a US-based non-governmental organization committed to the expansion of democracy around the world.
In a report, Freedom House said the Philippines is among 10 countries that deserve special scrutiny this year as Duterte may continue his extreme policies with strong parliamentary backing.
Included in this group is the US itself as Donald Trump’s unorthodox presidential campaign left open questions about his administration’s approach to civil liberties and the US role in the world.
The Freedom in the World 2017 report on political rights and civil liberties released on Tuesday rated the Philippines as “partly free,” the same classification the country has received in previous years.
The Philippines received three points each for political rights and civil liberties (one point represents the most free and seven the least free) but its aggregate score dropped to 63, from 65 in 2015, because of “human rights violations of varying scale with impunity.”
Also on the downtrend in freedom rankings were China, Ethiopia, Hong Kong, Mozambique, Nicaragua, Poland, South Sudan, Turkey and Zambia.
The Freedom House annual report said a number of repressive rulers in Asia reined in free speech and assembly during 2016 to smother public criticism of their own crimes and abuses.
Duterte shakes hands with Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Zhao Jianhua during the celebration of the National Heroes’ Day at the Libingan ng mga Bayani in Taguig City on August 29. KING RODRIGUEZ, PPD
“In the Philippines, newly elected President Rodrigo Duterte won widespread support for his policy of extrajudicial killings of suspected drug dealers and addicts, which by some counts claimed as many as 6,000 lives.
“Duterte admitted to shooting suspected criminals himself as mayor of Davao and his aggressive public admonitions of his critics contributed to a climate of fear among activists in the country,” Freedom House said. – With Janvic Mateo
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Amnesty International: Crimes Against Humanity Committed In Executing Philippine President Duterte’s “War on Drugs”
Amnesty International Says Drug Related Killings in The Philippines are “Systematic, Planned and Organized” by Authorities — Could constitute crimes against humanity
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Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte Justifies Killing of Drug Users Because They Are Not Human
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte (L) talks to Philippine National Police (PNP) Director General Ronald Dela Rosa (R) during a press conference at the Malacanang palace in Manila on January 30, 2017. © NOEL CELIS / POOL / AFP
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Amnesty International accused the Filipino police of murdering defenceless people or paying others to kill as part of President Rodrigo Duterte’s drug war ©NOEL CELIS (AFP/File)
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Philippine Police Accustomed to Extortion — Violating Anti-Extortion Laws Commonplace While Swindling Money From Filipino Victims
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Philippine National Police chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa
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Philippines’ rank in the World Justice Project Rule of Law Index in decline
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Philippines Policeman found tortured and strangled after some fellow police said he was involved in the illegal drug trade. Photo Credit Boy Cruz
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“They are afraid the incident could cause President Duterte to declare martial law. I talked with some sultans and ulamas and elders here… and that’s what they have told me,” Ponyo said.
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Sixteen hurt in Christmas eve blast at Catholic church in Philippines
Bullish on China, India; Doubtful on the Philippines
High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein. UN Photo, Jean-Marc Ferré
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Summary executions of supposed drug dealers and other criminals have become a common occurence in recent weeks. The STAR/Joven Cagande, file
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Philippines president Rodrigo Duterte tells people to ‘go ahead and kill’ drug addicts
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Davao City’s Ronald dela Rosa has been appointed to become the next chief of the Philippine National Police to lead President-elect Rodrigo Duterte’s planned crackdown on illegal drugs. Facebook/Dela Rosa