Philippines President Criticizes Times Piece on Deadly Antidrug Campaign
MANILA — The office of President Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines protested on Monday that a New York Times article and photographic essay on the country’s antidrug campaign had been “totally one-sided.”
Martin Andanar, the president’s communications secretary, complained in a statement that the piece, titled “They Are Slaughtering Us Like Animals” and published on Wednesday, “depicts the Philippines as the Wild, Wild West in this part of the world.” He added, “This is farthest from the truth.”
总统府通讯办公室主任马丁·安达纳尔(Martin Andanar)在一份声明中提出抗议，称这篇于上周三发表的名为《他们像屠宰动物一样屠杀我们》(They Are Slaughtering Us Like Animals)的报道，“把菲律宾描绘成了这个世界的荒蛮西部。”他接着讲道，“这严重偏离了事实。”
Daniel Berehulak, the photographer and author of the article, spent five weeks documenting the president’s antidrug campaign. He photographed 57 slain victims at 41 locations in metropolitan Manila.
His article reported that since the beginning of July, about 2,000 people had been killed by the police and that there had been more than 3,500 unsolved killings in the country. These figures match the numbers given to the news media by a Philippine police spokesman, Dionardo Carlos.
Mr. Andanar said that about a third of the unsolved killings had been identified as drug-related.
“The rest are murder and homicide cases perpetrated by riding-in-tandem gunmen which the Philippine National Police (P.N.P.) is now investigating, the results of which will be made public in due time,” he said in the statement.
“其他的则是双骑杀手制造的谋杀或凶杀案，菲律宾国家警察（Philippine National Police，简称PNP）正在对他们进行调查，结果将在适当的时候公布，”他在声明中表示。
Killings by gunmen riding in tandem on a motorbike are often drug-related attacks by vigilantes. Critics have said that the police are behind some vigilante killings, but Mr. Andanar denied that charge in his statement.
“The police have nothing to do with these killings,” he said. “The president has not given any direct orders for them to kill drug dealers and users on mere suspicion. Police operatives only neutralize those who violently resist arrest, or else they could be the ones who end up dead. Thus, the president’s marching order to the police is that they have the right to defend themselves when their lives are endangered.”
Michael Slackman, The Times’s International editor, stood behind the coverage. “Daniel’s work was an important contribution to our ongoing and in-depth coverage of the Philippines,” he said in a statement. “He took us onto the streets in a visceral, human way, capturing the cold reality of state policy while putting deaths in proper context.”
In a speech on Monday at an awards ceremony in Manila, the capital, Mr. Duterte said fewer people were being killed in the antidrug campaign, but did not provide specifics.
The president, who has called repeatedly for the killing of drug dealers and addicts, added that he did not enjoy seeing the deaths of his people.
“It doesn’t give me happiness to see a Filipino die,” he said. “But given a choice between a disorderly and failed state in my country.…” he said, without completing his thought.
Mr. Andanar, a former television news anchor, said in his statement that a number of police officers had been killed, but did not cite a figure. He said their deaths demonstrated “the magnitude of the drug problem in the country, and the need for resolute and decisive response by law enforcement.”
He asked the foreign news media to “present both sides of the story” when covering the antidrug campaign.
(The Times published a follow-up article on Friday quoting many Filipinos as supporting Mr. Duterte’s antidrug campaign and describing it as a welcome antidote to the pervasive drug crimes that they said had traumatized the country.)
“We in government, including the Philippine National Police and other law enforcement agencies, would be more than willing to help in unearthing the truth and presenting the facts about the drug menace to the public,” Mr. Andanar said.