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Duterte's anti-drug campaign on the cover of TIME Magazine

A man whose face is wrapped in packaging tape is featured prominently on the cover of the Asia edition of TIME Magazine's September 26 issue.

The magazine puts a focus on the "tragic cost" on the anti-drug campaign led by President Rodrigo Duterte, who graced the cover in May as "The Punisher."

In the September issue, the grim image is accompanied by the caption "Night Falls On the Philippines." Writer Rishi Iyengar details the trajectory of the so-called war on drugs in the cover story.



Iyengar documents the death of Restituto Castro, who was shot in the back of the head after an alleged drug run for his friends.

"According to figures provided to TIME by the Philippine national police, 1,506 people had been killed in police operations as of Sept. 14, just over two months since Duterte took office," Iyengar wrote.

"The rest were likely killed by vigilantes who may have been inspired by Duterte’s words—deaths the authorities say they are investigating."

Meanwhile, Duterte's habitual use of profanities was also given attention, citing the "nauna" rape joke from the campaign trail and the recent remarks he made about US President Barack Obama after he was pressed about the issue of human rights.

"I don’t care about human rights, believe me. There is no due process in my mouth," Iyengar quoted Duterte, describing him "unapologetic" towards the end.

Iyengar also shares the perspective of some police officers: "This is the first time that the President or the administration are really focused on eradicating illegal drugs. The support of the President makes it very encouraging for the law enforcer."

Beyond the 1,506 individuals who died in police operations, Iyengar added that nearly 700,000 people with drug-related offenses have surrendered out of fear.

The tone of Iyengar's story on TIME Magazine is similar to front page stories that the New York Times ran in August.

Featured in the first New York Times story was photo of a woman cradling the body of her partner Michael Siaron, a 29-year-old pedicab driver whose death at the hands of unidentified gunmen gained wide attention.

Another story, published in New York Times-Asia two weeks after the first, focused on the the death Renato Bertes and his son JP, who were reportedly tortured in a Pasay City jail. — Aya Tantiangco/VVP, GMA News