The Philippines is a Southeast Asian country in the Western Pacific, comprising more than 7,000 islands. Its capital, Manila, is famous for its waterfront promenade and centuries-old Chinatown, Binondo. Intramuros, a walled city in colonial times, is the heart of Old Manila. It's home to the baroque 17th-century San Agustin Church as well as Fort Santiago, a storied citadel and military prison.
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The bloody legacy of Rodrigo Duterte
A skull rolled towards my feet.
Next to me, Gemma Baran, 44, watched in horror as more of her husband's bones were loaded into The bag.
Patricio, a 47-year-old Security Guard , was shot dead on 9 July 2017.
She even suspects that he was killed in connection with it, but she is fearful of publicly contradicting The Police .
Gemma says that since Patricio was killed, she's been struggling to pay rent and provide for her three children. She cleans homes for a living and also relies on food handouts from her church: " I'm really suffering. I don't know what to do for my children. "
She says her children are also The Reason she hasn't pushed for an investigation into her husband's death: " I'm really scared. I'm staying silent. "
" We decided to start this programme to help The Victims ' grieving families rebuild and empower their lives anew, " said Father Villanueva, a Catholic priest who has long campaigned against outgoing President Rodrigo Duterte 's government.
" Duterte's order of 'kill, kill, kill' is a deliberate state-sponsored command that has produced thousands of widows and orphans. This is The President 's most tragic legacy. "Duterte's War on drugs
Mr Duterte's brutal crackdown on drugs has its supporters.
Ofelia, who had voted for Mr Duterte, was sad about Bulldog's death because she knew and liked him.
" It's painful. A Second Chance should have been given to him to change, not something so sudden. "
Rodrigo " Digong" Duterte, who is 77, was elected in June 2016 on a hardline ticket to clamp down on drugs and crime.
His signature Policy - The so-called " War on drugs" - has seen thousands of suspected drug addicts and Dealers killed in controversial police operations. Thousands more have been shot dead by unidentified masked gunmen, often referred to by The Philippines ' media as " vigilantes".
" No" was His reply, but he admitted to problems in policing: " We're trying to fix that. But we will not in The interim allow The drug trade to get such a grip on our political life that we can't reverse it, so that we end up like Central America . "
The true toll of The War on drugs will never be known. At first, The official count, which combined confirmed deaths during police operations and The killings by Masked Men (The government called them deaths under investigation, or DUI) ran into tens of thousands. But then The government dropped The DUI metric and The Number fell.
The latest official Figure - for The Number of alleged drug Dealers and users killed between July 2016 and April 2022 - is 6,248. But Human Rights groups believe The Number could be as high as 30,000.
The Police have always said that they only killed in self-defence. But CCTV footage, suggesting that they were incapacitated, and The accounts of whistle blowers point to Something More sinister. A Manila police captain was secretly recorded in - Saying that it was officers who were carrying out The masked killings.
Mr Duterte had once told Law Enforcers at an anti-drug event: " You might be shot. Shoot him first, because he will really draw His gun on you, and you will die. For me, I don't care about Human Rights . . I will assume full legal responsibility. I will face those Human Rights [lawyers], not you. "
The popular strongman
Some have attributed this to His aggressive populism in a poor country where public faith in The judicial system has always been low, while others say Mr Duterte, despite His long political career, projected himself as something of an Outsider - as opposed to The Aquino and Marcos families that have governed The Philippines for decades.
Over The Years , he modelled himself as a " punisher" who " broke The rules". His blunt and often crass choice of words resonated with ordinary Filipinos, with some even referring to him as " tatay Digong" or " Father Duterte". His misogynistic comments about women and sexist remarks over rape have been passed off by His supporters as " just jokes".
Davao, a key southern city where he became mayor in 1988, was The centre of The Resistance that sprang up against armed Communist rebels who were targeting police, officials and others they saw as their enemy.
Much of this Resistance - called Alsa Masa (Masses Arise) - was driven by arming civilians, and according to some reports even forcing them, to fight The Communists. Some experts believe The United States , too, had a role to play given that, fresh from a costly defeat in The Vietnam War , it had been helping arm anti-Communist fighter groups across The World .
When asked if The US had ever been involved in supporting Alsa Masa, Mr Locsin said: " If they were, I would basically have to shoot myself if I told you so. It was a tough world. It was a world that got things done. That is unimaginable now. We're not The same people now. "
Alsa Masa, many believe, is The Origin of The Vigilante groups and so-called " death squads" that emerged in Davao under Mr Duterte - The Victims were often leftists, opponents and alleged criminals, including drug users and Dealers .
An investigation into More Than 1,000 of these killings and disappearances in Davao by The UN implicated Mr Duterte. At a 2016 senate hearing into The killings, planted guns and drugs on victims to frame them.Shrinking democratic space
He did a " good job" of handling The economy, according to April Tan, chief equity strategist of COL Financial in Manila. " He allowed His technocrats to do their work. The tax system was successfully reformed. A lot of measures were passed that improve The incentive to do business here. "
Government ministers also praised His handling of a peace deal that offered improved political autonomy for millions of Muslim Filipinos on The southern island of Mindanao In Return for The decommissioning of weapons.
One of His biggest Promises - to cut Corruption - included launching a helpline where people can report graft. But in 2021, His own government faced Corruption allegations over multi-billion dollar contracts awarded to a healthcare supplier. Mr Duterte reacted by barring His cabinet from attending senate hearings investigating The Matter , and no legal action followed, leading critics to claim that impunity for The rich and The powerful continues in The Philippines .
Another casualty of Mr Duterte's presidency has been Free speech. and critics have been targeted, including Father Villanueva, The Catholic priest who prayed for Gemma's husband Patricio. He is charged with sedition.
Media, too, have been Stifled - Maria Ressa , Nobel Peace Prize winner and co-founder of The Rappler news website, has been convicted of cyber libel. She has denied The charges and appealed against The Verdict . Many believe The allegations against her are politically motivated over Rappler's hard-hitting coverage of Mr Duterte's policies. She also faces a daily barrage of online trolling, designed, she says, to " bludgeon you into silence". On The eve of Mr Duterte leaving office, by officials.
Mr Duterte might not belong to a political dynasty but he has certainly started One - he leaves office as His daughter Sara Duterte-Carpio takes over as vice-president. She won on a landslide and could well be preparing for a presidential run in 2028.
But Mr Duterte's critics say His legacy is marred by The violence. " When you're in government you can do good [as president], just by sitting there, because things happen, " said Karen Gomez-Dumpit, The outgoing head of The country's commission on Human Rights .Read more of our coverage on The Philippines
Source of news: bbc.com