It is a busy Saturday afternoon at the Red Ribbon Bakeshop in Woodside, Queens, home to the largest Filipinos community in New York City. 38,000 Filipinos reside in Queens the 2010 Census reported. As many Filipinos are enjoying bake goods back from home, the talk of the community has been about the president back at home.
Philippines president Rodrigo Duterte has the world in shocked with his operation the war on drugs, according to the Human Rights Watch, since taking office on June 30, 2016, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has launched an abusive and violation “war on drugs” that has resulted in the deaths of more than 6,000 Filipinos to date. Many have called this extrajudicial killing; the term means it is the assassination or murder of a person by governmental authorities without the sanction of any judicial proceeding or legal process.
There has been a drug problem in the Philippines. According to the Philippine Dangerous Drugs Board it estimated a total of 1.8 million drug users. The two of the most used and valuable illegal drugs in the country are methamphetamine hydrochloride (shabu) and marijuana, it has led to many illegal drug trading.
The leader of Philippines vowed to eliminate all drug offenders during his presidential campaign and currently. “If I couldn’t convince you to stop, I’ll have you killed… if you’re into drugs, I’m very sorry. I’ll have to apologize to your family because you’ll surely get killed.” Said Duterte.
The Republic Act No. 9189, otherwise known as “The Overseas Absentee Voting Act of 2003, all citizens of the Philippines abroad, at least eighteen (18) years of age on the day of the elections, and who are registered overseas voters, may vote for the President.
When elections were held in May last year 2016. Duterte won the overseas vote. In the United States primarily he got 24,789 votes from the Filipinos community. In New York City, there are some mixed opinions about president Duterte actions.
“My young nephews at home is living in fear because they can die without no reason,” said Geraldine Ocampo, 32 a Woodside resident from the Philippines. Ocampo’s family resides in Davo, in which Duterte was mayor of the city.
“Dutrerte is doing what no other president has done over the last decade; Clean the streets” said Flushing resident Thomas Zabala, 56, his family reside in the capital Manila. The city of Manila has painted the massive “war on drugs” killings according to The Philippine National Police’s data indicates that police killed at least 2,250 in Manila “suspected drug personalities” from July 2016 to January 2017.
There have been protest throughout New York City over the past months organized by human rights activists and Filipino American organizations. Emily Sanderson is organizer of Vocal NYC and Health Gap, just recently organized a protest in front of the Philippines Consulate on 5th Avenue.
“It is unacceptable that Rodrigo Duterte is not responsible for the killings of innocent people with drug abuse and no help by the Duterte government” said Sanderson.
The Philippine leader just recently stated in a conference in china “Filipinos in America are not Filipinos,” because “The Filipinos in America are not Filipinos anymore, they’re Americans. Their attitude is American.” The younger generation of Filipino Americans is taking action. The New York University’s International Filipino Association is home to the NYU Filipino students.
Ruthie Ofrasio 20, a junior year student at New York University, is concern on how Filipinos Americans has not raised their voice. “The Voice Filipinos everywhere is important even if they are not home, what is happening in my country is devastating and we as Filipinos have make actions” said Ofrasio.