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Forum From the Archives: Brutality of Philippines’ War on Drugs Laid Bare in ‘Some People Need Killing’

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Patricia Evangelista's new book is “Some People Need Killing: A Memoir of Murder in My Country” (Photo Credit: Mark Nicdao)

In most of the world, “salvage” is a hopeful word, writes journalist Patricia Evangelista. But in Philippine English, to salvage is also to execute a suspected criminal without trial. The salvages of suspected drug users and dealers encouraged by former Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte are the subject of Evangelista’s new book “Some People Need Killing,” which draws its title from the words of a vigilante she interviewed. According to human rights organizations, more than 30,000 people were extrajudicially executed in the Philippines for alleged narcotics offenses by the time Duterte left office in 2022. Evangelista interviewed the families of victims, and we talk to her about the impact Duterte’s terrifying war on drugs had on them and on the country.


Patricia Evangelista, journalist; author, “Some People Need Killing: A Memoir of Murder in My Country”


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