ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

What CNN, the New York Times & Time Magazine all got wrong about the Philippines President Duterte's War on Drugs

Updated on September 7, 2016

The Philippines War on Drugs is making US headlines

The Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte was inaugurated on June 30 2016 and has been making headlines ever since in his country and more recently the US.

Winning the election by promising a war on drugs President Duterte wasted no time getting started. Within 53 days of taking office 160 government and law enforcement officials were named as drug involved personnel, over 600,000 drug users and dealers surrendered to police voluntarily with over 10,000 more dealers and users being arrested by police.

By most measures the War on Drugs has made major progress garnering a 91% approval rating for President Duterte from the Filipino people. But it's making headlines in the US for different reasons.

Approximately 1,900 deaths from July 1 to August 23

From July 1 to August 23 there were approximately 1,900 homicides in the Philippines including criminals killed in official police operations. CNN, Fox News and Time Magazine allege these are all related to the Philippines' War on Drugs. Here are some excerpts from each news source

"Lifeless bodies lying on the streets of the Philippines are a visceral sign of new President Rodrigo Duterte's war on drugs.

So far more than 1,900 people have died. Of those more than 700 have been killed in police operations since Duterte took office in late June, according to police statistics. Many of the unsolved deaths are attributed to vigilantes."

— Duterte crackdown: 6 stories from the front lines - Euan McKirdy - CNN

Killings by the police and vigilantes in the Philippines’ war on drugs have soared to nearly 1,800 in the seven weeks since President Rodrigo Duterte was sworn into office, the nation’s top police official told a Senate hearing on Monday.

— Nearly 1,800 killed in Duterte's drug war - Richard C. Paddock - New York Times

The director general of the Philippine National Police (PNP), Ronald dela Rosa, told a Senate hearing on Aug. 22 that 712 people had been killed in police operations in the seven weeks since the crackdown began, and that another 1,067 had died at the hands of vigilantes. By one account, there is official pride in the death toll.

— Almost 1,800 people have died in seven weeks in the Philippines' - Rishi Iyengar - Time Magazine

The figures cited in these articles come from the testimony of Philippines National Police Chief, Ronaldo Dela Rosa, given during the Philippines Senate hearings on alleged extra judicial killings related to the War on Drugs from the period of July 1 to August 23. These hearings were held August 22-23.

However, according to PNP Chief Dela Rosa, the actual death toll in the War on Drugs during this period was fewer than 1,100. The figures were presented as follows

  • 756 suspects killed in police operations while resisting arrest
  • 273 drug related vigilante killings

Additionally during this same 53 day period PNP Chief Dela Rosa notes there were

  • 757 homicides that were undetermined if they were drug related
  • 40 homicides unrelated to drugs

The aforementioned news sources falsely, attributed the 757 undetermined homicides to the War on Drugs.

Why we can't assume the 757 undetermined homicides are drug related

The Philippines has a homicide rate 3 times that of the US averaging roughly 900-1,100 homicides per month or about 30-36 homicides per day. With an average of lets say 33 homicides per day for a 53 day period that would total 1,749 expected homicides for July 1 to August 23.

With 1,749 homicides expected for the same period it is incorrect to assume that the 757 undetermined homicides are a result of the War on Drugs. PNP Chief Dela Rosa made this point specifically telling the Senate

". . . we would like to make it clear your honor that not all these DUI, Death under Investigation, (referring to the 757 undetermined deaths) are drug related cases . . ."

In fact if we assume the opposite, that the 757 undetermined homicides and 273 drug related homicides are part of the normal homicides that would have occurred regardless of the War on Drugs, then include the 40 homicides unrelated to drugs, the homicide rate has fallen by about 39% averaging only 20 homicides per day; a point made by Senator Peter Cayetano in the Senate hearings.

The Truth

The truth is no CNN, there weren't 1,900 deaths as a result of the War on Drugs in the Philippines, no New York Times there weren't 1,800 deaths at the hands of police and vigilantes, and no Time Magazine there weren't 1,067 vigilante killings.

The truth is there were

  • 797 citizen committed homicides which cannot be attributed to the War on Drugs
  • 273 drug related vigilante killings
  • 757 criminals killed in police operations while resisting arrest.

Do you think the NYT, CNN and Time Magazine were accurate in their reports?

See results

Do you think the media is covering the War on Drugs in the Philippines fairly?

See results


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)