President Donald Trump attracted bipartisan criticism in April for enthusiastically endorsing one of the worldâs most brazen human rights catastrophes: Philippine President Rodrigo Duterteâs murderous anti-drug campaign. Since Duterte took office last June, police and vigilante death squads have killed more than 7,000 people, and devastated poor in communities in cities across the country.
Now, a new film shows the human toll of Duterteâs campaign. “Duterteâs Hell,” by Aaron Goodman and Luis Liwanag and produced withÂ the documentary unitÂ Field of Vision, shows graphic images of Philippine police examining and carting off dead bodies, and grieving communities struggling to cope with the government-sanctioned murders.
In 2016, Duterte campaigned on a policy of mass extermination for anyone involved in the drug trade â not only drug traffickers, but addicts as well. âHitler massacred three million Jews,â Duterte said in September. âNow there is three million drug addicts. Iâd be happy to slaughter them.â
In April, Trump stunned observers of the crisis by placing what his aides described as a âvery friendlyâ call to Duterte, inviting the Philipine president to the White House. Weeks later, The Intercept, in partnership with the Philipine news site Rappler, obtained and published a transcript of that call, showing that Trump heaping praise on the drug campaign. âI am hearing of the unbelievable job on the drug problem,â he told Duterte.
Human rights groups have documented how small groups of plainclothes police or vigilante assassins will gun down subjects on the street or burst into the roadside shacks in urban slums. Uniformed police frequently show up later and routinely plant drugs or guns on the corpses to justify the killings.
âI swear on my family, my son is not a pusher, my son had no gun,â one mother wails, turning to the camera. âPlease! Tell [this] to the whole…