Since Rodrigo Duterte officially became president of the Philippines, thousands of drug pushers and users have voluntarily surrendered to authorities out of fear for their lives. Although many people, especially the human rights groups, criticized Duterte’s approach in dealing with the issue, the president has gained an unlikely supporter to his campaign against illegal drugs: the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).
The Philippine Daily Inquirer reports that the MILF, which have been blamed for terrorist attacks in the country to achieve their goal of independence, is open to working with the current government toward its goal to eliminate illegal drug use once and for all. The MILF’s official website states that they find comfort in the hardline policy on drugs issued by Rodrigo Duterte.
The group says that drug use must be dealt with because it is destroying the lives of the Bansamoro people. In fact, the MILF issued an order to its political and military leaders in November 2015 to restrain the trading of shabu (methamphetamine) among Moro communities in Mindanao.
However, not everyone was happy with the MILF’s directive. This action was opposed by the Philippine security agencies because this would violate the group’s ceasefire agreement with the government.
Another Philippine terrorist group also supports Duterte’s relentless fight against drugs. The New People’s Army rebels stated that they might initiate their own operations against local officials, police and even soldiers.
The Philippine authorities’ increasingly violent war against drug pushers and users has resulted to more than 100 deaths. This may thrill many, but for others like human rights lawyer Manuel Diokno, Chair of the country’s Free Legal Assistance Group, President Duterte’s war on crime has spiraled out of control.
Civil rights campaigners also urged an inquiry into the recent police operations. They speculate that some suspects have been summarily executed by police officers.