Philippine youth theatre group perform musical against President Duterte's war on drugs

Oli Gamp
Philippine drug musical

A youth theatre group in the Philippines have staged a powerful musical that questions the methods of President Rodrigo Duterte in his violent campaign against the drug world.

Duterte was elected by a comfortable margin after promising to take strong action on the drug problem in the country, and there has since seen more than 8,000 drug addicts and dealers killed.

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While some of these deaths allegedly occurred in police operations, the Filipino authorities have denied being involved in the mass killings, instead blaming vigilante action and drug cartels, although an ex-policeman has confessed to killing 200 people as part of Duterte's alleged "death squad".

The 20-minute musical aims to provide a sobering perspective of the war on drugs, and its story depicts a casket salesman whose business is booming following a rapid rise in funerals after the many drug-related expirations.

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However, despite profiting from the deaths, the salesman is eventually killed himself by vigilantes - sending a message to the government that the killings of both those suffering from drug abuse and profiting from it helps no one.

Duterte has been defiant in his actions, both in his stance on the drugs war and other issues in the country, such as reinstating the death penalty.

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He refused to back down after being lambasted by former US President Barack Obama and the UN for his anti-drugs programme and recently told the EU to "mind their own business" following their criticism of his new capital punishment policy on March 19.

"Why don't you mind your own business? Why do you have to f**k with us, goddamn it," he said.

President Duterte

The EU has also suggested that the Philippines government start opening rehabilitation centres in order to help those struggling with drug addiction, but Duterte hit back, believing that the organisation wanted its citizens to use more drugs.

"This EU Parliament is proposing that we just give drugs to addicts. If they're addicted to shabu, we should give them shabu. If they're addicted to cocaine, we should give them cocaine. They just need to go to the center."

The youth theatre group are planning to take their show on the road to other schools in a bid to spread their message on the drugs situation, and will perform a longer version of the musical next month.

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