The NGO Global Witness detailed in its annual report how the Philippines has been identified as the deadliest country in the world for environmental activists, in large part due to violence and intimidation from the mining, energy, and logging industries.
Rodrigo Duterte’s anti-Catholic scorn does not appear to be seriously damaging his appeal. The first polls of 2019 show the president’s approval rating is up to 80 percent, despite 8 in 10 Filipinos being Catholic.
The Philippines' new president came to power on a promise to rid the country of criminals and drug addicts. He has said to "kill them all." And, since he took office at the end of June, more than 600 people have turned up dead.
At least 7,000 suspected drug users and pushers have been killed in the Philippines since July. Some include people who voluntarily surrendered to the authorities. The fear is reverberating throughout the country’s rehabs.
Amidst a state-sanctioned drug war that has stoked fear and silenced dissent, the Catholic Church is emerging as possibly the only institution strong enough to stand up to Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte.