MANILA, Philippines – "In the war on drugs now, children died [along] with due process."
This was the sentiment shared by a children human rights observer, the Children's Legal Rights and Development Center (CLRDC), during the War on Drugs: Looking Behind the Numbers forum on Thursday, April 5.
"They are no longer collateral damage, they are seen as targets," CLRDC representative Rowena Legaspi said in a room full of human rights advocates and journalists covering the drug war.
Why the statement: The CLRDC made the statement in a forum tackling the death tally of the Philippine war on drugs, with CLRDC tilting the focus on the death of minors and women.
Their assessment was rooted in numbers. They have recorded at least 54 children who have been killed in just the first year of the Duterte administration's drug war. (LIST: Minors, college students killed in Duterte's drug war)
Many of the families of those killed do not get sufficient aid from the government for their burial at least, the CLRDC said.
Is 54 a small number? The CLRDC pointed out that while the death toll of children has not reached hundreds, the thousands of killings have, in one way or another, left children scarred. They have become orphans or grow up in neighborhoods with killings.
As of March 20, 2018, the Philippine government has recorded 4,075 drug suspects killed in law enforcement operations. Thousands more have been killed in relation to drugs.
As of February 2018, human rights groups have estimated that at least 12,000 have died from vigilante and drug war operations. – Rappler.com