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Why Death Squads Have Been A Tool Used By States

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Death squads have been a tool used by states in an attempt to control the population through fear. This idea is exemplified by the current situation in the Philippines, which has entered a state of constant fear due to the policy of President Rodrigo Duterte. However, this state of fear has been following Duterte well before his presidency, and can actually be traced all the way back to when he was the mayor of Davao, during which time he said, “Throw them in the ocean or the quarry. Make it clean. Make sure there are no traces of the bodies” (Lamb 2017). This horrific order was given to the Davao death squad (DDS) who carried out mass-killings without question (Lamb 2017). However, news and rumors of these death squads only seemed to…show more content…
Here we see several clear connections to the killings happening in the Philippines, with some curious additions. The first deviation that we see from the traditional definition is that the actions in the Philippines are not clandestine, and have been publicly ordered by the president (“President urges people to kill,” 2016). However, we are seeing a paramilitary nature arising as both policy and vigilante groups are killing with extreme speed and efficiency (Berehulak 2016). An example of this paramilitary-like efficiency and speed is the method of killing known as riding in tandem, in which two individuals riding on motorbikes would gun down suspects, and then disappear (Berehulak 2016). This, along with more blatant killings, like the ones where masked men simply broke down families’ doors and killed the suspect in cold blood, were done to anyone believed to be associated with narcotics (Berehulak, 2016). It has become clear that this these groups are targeting the poorest populous of the Philippines with the police planting evidence on suspects and claiming self-defense (Berehulak, 2016). Their primary means of this targeting has been murder, as over 7,000 have already died due to these death squads. Despite there being some small deviation from the definition provided, it is still clear that the war on drugs in the Philippines is being carried out by death squads. However, one way that these death squads are unique is that they include common civilians in their
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