WorldViews

Witnesses to Duterte’s drug war

Hannah Reyes Morales/FTWP

For nearly two years, Philippine police have waged President Rodrigo Duterte’s "war" on drugs.

Despite thousands of deaths and well-documented abuse, not a single officer has been convicted of a crime.

Hannah Reyes Morales set out to document what’s happening in Navotas, a Manila neighborhood where violence is an everyday occurrence — and witnessed a terrifying raid.

Hannah Reyes Morales/FTWP

Ginalyn Gapoy and her grandson, Regie Forio, live not far from where her son, Renato, was shot and killed by unidentified men.

Hannah Reyes Morales/FTWP

The neighborhood is full of reminders of the drug war, such as this portrait of Junior Abletes, who was also shot by unidentified men.

Hannah Reyes Morales/FTWP

In Manila's poorest communities, families live in constant fear of raids.

Hannah Reyes Morales/FTWP

Even young people know that a knock on the door can mean arrest — or worse.

Hannah Reyes Morales/FTWP

One day in late April, plainclothes officers arrived in the neighborhood on motorbikes.

Hannah Reyes Morales/FTWP

People watched nervously, knowing it was the police.

Hannah Reyes Morales/FTWP

Children ran to watch the spectacle, as if it were a game, not a war.

Hannah Reyes Morales/FTWP

"Everything became quiet when the motorbikes arrived," Reyes Morales said. "The feeling of the place changed from a space that was teeming full of life and sound to a place that was suddenly still."

Hannah Reyes Morales/FTWP

The men searched shanty homes and questioned residents. Then they left.

Hannah Reyes Morales/FTWP

The next day, masked men arrived and arrested several men.

Hannah Reyes Morales/FTWP

Residents were terrified to see men with guns rounding people up and taking them away.

Hannah Reyes Morales/FTWP

Noella, the wife of a man arrested in the raid, went to the police station to wait. She wanted to know whether her husband was still alive.

Hannah Reyes Morales/FTWP

She was joined by a crowd of other women waiting for their sons and husbands.

Hannah Reyes Morales/FTWP

"I’d been caught off guard, but the community was used to this. A mother told me that she didn’t know what kind of trauma her children get from this, but she knew the trauma was there," Reyes Morales said. "A child who was questioned by the men said to me, ‘If they kill me, then it is my time.’ This, to them, was a fact of life."

Weeks later, Noella’s husband remained in jail on drug-related charges. In Navotas, life went on.

Hannah Reyes Morales/FTWP

Hannah Reyes Morales/FTWP