Approval for President Rodrigo Duterte’s controversial war on drugs has slipped by 11 points in the new year, according to a survey from Social Weather Stations (SWS) Philippines.
Filipinos polled in the survey, which questioned 1,200 families nationwide between March 25 and 28, gave the drug war a net satisfaction rating of 66+ or “very good.”
Some 2,555 suspected drug dealers have been killed so far in police operations, according to numbers provided by authorities. Another 3,603 “deaths under investigation”, or vigilante-style killings, have been reported since Duterte declared his commitment to waging a ‘brutal’ war on drugs and crime last year.
While the Philippines president maintains a very good approval rating of his campaign against drugs, the latest survey marks an 11 point drop from his December numbers, when respondents gave the drug war a net satisfaction rating of 77+.
Philippine National Police maintain that drug suspects killed in police operations had shot at police first or fought back.
But the survey shows respondents were skeptical of these claims. Only 24 percent say they believe the police were telling the truth, while 31 percent believe the police were lying, and 44 percent say they were uncertain if the police were telling the truth.
Over the past year, Duterte has repeated his “shoot to kill” orders against drug suspects who fight back. He said in Tagalog, “[If] your life is in danger and the suspect is armed with a gun or knife and fights back, shoot. I’ll give you a medal.”
But the results of the latest survey suggests a growing weariness with the death toll, with 92 percent of respondents saying it was important to apprehend drug suspects alive.
Further, the survey shows that a whopping 73 percent of Filipinos are worried that someone in their own family could be extrajudicially killed, while 70 percent believe that the administration is “serious” about solving the “EJK problem” or extrajudicial killings in the country.
The very term “extrajudicial killing”, however, is objected to by the government, which disputes claims by international human rights groups that the police are behind the over 3,600 vigilante killings.
Sampling error margins were +/-3 percent overall, and +/-6 percent for Metro Manila, Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao.