Epicenters of fatalities in the war on drugs

It derives preliminary insights from patterns of media-reported fatalities. Hopefully, it will aid the public to better appreciate the complex landscape of the anti-drug campaign, particularly given the country’s decentralized system of governance. We hope it will also contribute to increased accountability across various police units and local governments, as they seek to suppress drugs while still protecting the rights of all citizens.

Nevertheless, the analysis here is preliminary because of several important caveats.

First, the data is drawn from media reports, yet we cannot ensure that all fatalities linked to the anti drugs campaign have indeed been covered by media. Second, this dataset is unofficial. More careful investigation could sharpen the final list of fatalities, since most are likely pending further investigation. This analysis is not meant to prejudge those outcomes. Third, the information on the context of some of the fatalities is very basic and clearly does not shed full light on the exact nuances of each case. For example, finding a salvage victim in NCR does not necessarily mean that is where the assault took place. Again, this analysis is not meant to prejudge all other possible angles for investigation.

40% of fatalities are not due to police operations.

We begin by classifying the fatalities into three main contexts:

Of those fatalities linked to police operations, we further disaggregate according to:

1) fatalities resulting from police buy-bust operations and shootouts;

2) fatalities resulting from serving arrest warrants;

3) fatalities resulting from attempting to escape arrest; and

4) fatalities resulting from serving a search warrant.

Figure 1. Distribution of Fatalities by Context