For the past year, along with colleagues, theatre writer, Mixkaela Villalon and conflict
specialist, Ica Fernandez, I have been doing research on the effect of the Philippine
war on drugs on various aspects of social life, particularly on the part of the poor.
With the objective of reaching a wider audience, we released the first output of the
study as a journalistic piece published in partnership with the Philippine Centre for
Investigative Journalism, with Dean Sheila Coronel of the Columbia School of Investigative Journalism serving as one of our mentors.
The research work to look into the different facets of the Philippine drug war is an on-
going project. In partnership with different groups, mostly non-government organizations and church-based groups, for data collection, this research paved way
for us to personally interact with victims of the extrajudicial killing and it showed how
the Duterte administration is using punitive approaches to address the alleged
problem of drug use. These interactions further highlighted the need to have policies
that would look at drug use as a health condition and not as a crime. Joining this
workshop would enable me to gain a deeper understanding on the intersections
between drug policy, human rights and development. Further, the learnings will serve
as input to the continuous effort to collect empirical evidence on the effects of
punitive drug policies on the people, particularly the marginalized.