President Rodrigo Duterte's war on drugs is not just grabbing headlines at home.
On Wednesday, the New York Times ran a front page photo and a story about the rise in killings of street-level drug personalities since Duterte took power on June 30.
Bannered on the front page was the shot of a woman cradling the body of Michael Siaron, a 29-year-old pedicab driver whose death at the hands of unidentified gunmen gained wide attention.
Duterte earlier dismissed the photo as too dramatic even as critics, including Senator Leila De Lima and international non-government organizations called for a halt to the killings.
The New York Times cited a letter of the International Drug Policy Consortium urging the United Nations drug control agencies “to demand an end to the atrocities currently taking place in the Philippines” and to state that extrajudicial killings “do not constitute acceptable drug control measures.”
The group also called on the UN agencies to urge the Philippine government to promote an "evidence-based and health-focused approach" to people who use drugs such as voluntary treatment and encourage Duterte to uphold the rule of law and right to due process.
While he shares the concerns of human rights groups, political analyst Ramon Casiple told the newspaper that it "it was too early to decide" whether Duterte’s approach to eliminating the drug menace is effective.
“Let’s give him his 100 days,” Casiple was quoted as saying, referring to the honeymoon period traditionally granted to new leaders.
At least 440 drug suspects have been killed since the government launched an intensified crackdown on illegal drugs, according to GMA News data as of Wednesday afternoon.
Duterte's bold anti-crime platform resonated with more than 16 million voters last May, enough to give him a landslide victory following a divisive campaign. —Virgil Lopez/JST, GMA News