This article from the BBC involves the current Drug War in the Philippines. In this article women are being recruited, trained, and contracted by the government to kill drug dealers, pushers, and suppliers. This is part of the Pilipino government’s war on drugs. When one looks at the measures that the government is willing to take to send a message to those involved in the narcotics trade this is not just a war that involves arrests, seizing money and drugs, this is about shutting down the network and logistics through covert assassination. This is a full on war where the soldiers are not only police but civilians given briefings on their targets and then carry out government sanctioned killings.
The fact that President Duterte is even quoted as saying as a threat to drug dealers, “Do not destroy my country, because I will kill you.” It is clear that the president took those words very seriously with the inaction of this new policy. The problem however, as the President Duterte later reveals is that the problem is that the government is involved in the drug trade including the police and even some judiciary officials. It is easy to see that the assassination teams will most likely never target anyone high on the organizational chart of these drug lords. It seems almost as if this is just being used as a form of scare tactic against the drug traffickers.
It is clear that there is some similarities between the drug based corruption in the Philippines and countries like Mexico and other South American countries. The biggest difference in this story however, is that this is treated as a paid government contract. It is almost as if these groups of mostly women who are being used are being singled out due to certain characteristics, and then transformed into covert operatives meant to strike fear into the hearts of other drug dealers. When it is very possible that they are simply removing rival dealers from the local kingpin’s territory.
The women who are recruited are usually from rural, poor areas of the Philippines, and lack a formal education. These women to be honest are used based on their ability to blend into a crowd. They tend to not arose as much suspicion when getting near a drug dealer or someone in the drug trade as a male would. While they maybe women that does not mean that they are any less deadly than a male. A bullet can kill you regardless of who pulls the trigger of the weapon. The issue with this program is that in a way these women are being taken advantage of.
They are forced to split their pay between the team after a mission is complete and when the pay for a contract which is 20,000 Philippines pesos which amounts to around $430 per target. So each member only gets around $143.33 or less per target, for people who have very little, this is a lot. However, when the math is all said and done, it really does beg the question that is a human life really worth that, even if he or she is a criminal? The worst part is that much like the sex trade, it is very difficult to get out of this program mostly due to intimidation; as well as fear of reprisal from the families of the victims of the assassins. It is difficult to not view the assassins as victims themselves. They are basically trained to become predators, given very little in terms of financial support, and are required to live in certain areas. Even if they saw the money offered as a way to improve their lives and themselves, the only thing they ended up doing was to become contract killers on the payroll of their own government. The assassins had little choice but to go from contract to contract, and sooner or later they will realize they gave up part of their souls to be judge, jury, and executioner for a compromised government trying to fight a secret civil war within itself and calling it a war on drugs.
To find out more information on this article please visit the BBC for the full story: Philippines drugs war: The woman who kills dealers for a living