Extrajudicial killings continue in the Philippines' ongoing drug war : Up First "They can just kill anyone."

Since 2016, thousands have been killed in the Philippines' war on drugs. The bloody campaign began under the Philippines' last president, Rodrigo Duterte, who said he would be "happy to slaughter" three million drug addicts in the country. When current president Ferdinand Marcos Jr. took office in 2022, he promised to end this spree of state-sanctioned killings of alleged drug users and sellers, and focus on rehabilitation instead.

In today's episode of The Sunday Story, NPR's Emily Feng travels to the Philippines to see what has come of Marcos' attempt to burnish the country's international reputation and to put an end to what most people in the Philippines now refer to as EJKs, or "extrajudicial killings." She found that the killings have continued. And she spoke to researchers, doctors, advocates, and victims' families to try to understand why.

The Sunday Story: Life in the Shadow of the Philippines' Drug War

The Sunday Story: Life in the Shadow of the Philippines' Drug War

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/1198912731/1252218534" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Tin Serioso, 27, with her 1-year-old daughter Cat and 6-year-old Jay, inside their home in Novaliches, Quezon City in the Philippines on April 4, 2024. Her husband Chrismel Serioso was killed by police on October 3, 2023. Kimberly dela Cruz for NPR hide caption

toggle caption
Kimberly dela Cruz for NPR

Tin Serioso, 27, with her 1-year-old daughter Cat and 6-year-old Jay, inside their home in Novaliches, Quezon City in the Philippines on April 4, 2024. Her husband Chrismel Serioso was killed by police on October 3, 2023.

Kimberly dela Cruz for NPR

"They can just kill anyone."

Since 2016, thousands have been killed in the Philippines' war on drugs. The bloody campaign began under the Philippines' last president, Rodrigo Duterte, who said he would be "happy to slaughter" three million drug addicts in the country. When current president Ferdinand Marcos Jr. took office in 2022, he promised to end this spree of state-sanctioned killings of alleged drug users and sellers, and focus on rehabilitation instead.

In today's episode of The Sunday Story, NPR's Emily Feng travels to the Philippines to see what has come of Marcos' attempt to burnish the country's international reputation and to put an end to what most people in the Philippines now refer to as EJKs, or "extrajudicial killings." She found that the killings have continued. And she spoke to researchers, doctors, advocates, and victims' families to try to understand why.


This episode was produced by Justine Yan and edited by Jenny Schmidt. Audio engineering by Robert Rodriguez.

We'd love to hear from you. Send us an email at TheSundayStory@npr.org. Listen to Up First on Apple Podcasts and Spotify.