Duterte: Dead Children Are ‘Collateral Damage’ in His Drug War

President Rodrigo Duterte said the deaths of innocent children in the Philippines are necessary “collateral damage” in his drug war. Police officers operating under Duterte’s orders are using automatic weapons when they confront alleged criminals, Duterte said. “It could not be negligence because you have to save your life. It could not be recklessness because you have to defend yourself,” he said. An unknown number of innocent people, including children, have died in these extrajudicial exchanges. “When you bomb a village you intend to kill the militants but you kill the children there,” Duterte continued, comparing the deaths to U.S. attacks in Vietnam and Afghanistan. “Why do you say it is collateral damage to the West and to us it is murder?” More than 3,800 people have died since Duterte assumed his post on June 30 and began a war on drugs that he believes will save his country. Duterte has publicly encouraged armed groups of civilians to join the effort, in addition to police operations he has sanctioned. “We have 3 million drug addicts and it’s growing. So if we do not interdict this problem, the next generation will be having a serious problem,” Duterte said.