Documenting Duterte’s Drug War


Film Screening

Part 1

Session 7
Wed 14:00-15:30 REC A1.03

Part 2

Session 8
Wed 16:00-17:30 REC A1.03



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The war on drugs was a centerpiece of former Philippine President Rodrigo R. Duterte’s campaign when he ran and won for president in 2016. Since then, more than 6,252* have been killed but according to Amnesty International the real number could be more than 30,000. Most of the victims were urban poor. Documentary films such as Aswang (2019), by the young filmmaker Alyx Arumpac, are important portrayals of the extra-judicial killings during the Duterte regime. The most recent documentary film on the drug war, Maria (2023) by She Andes, follows the journey of three women, all named Maria, in their quest for truth and justice.

In January 2023, the International Criminal Court has resumed its investigation on Duterte’s drug war and appeals to stop the investigations have been denied. The Philippine government, now under former dictator’s son, President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., and the daughter of PRRD, Vice-President Sara Duterte, refuse to cooperate with the ICC. Meanwhile, the quest for justice continues.

*from Philippines’ Dangerous Drugs Board.

Prof. Eloisa May P. Hernandez PhD will give a background on the Duterte Drug War, the importance of women filmmakers in the fight for justice, followed by an introduction to the film Maria, and the filmmaker, She Andes. The film Maria will be shown (75 minutes running time) followed by a discussion with the filmmaker, Mary Ann Domingo (one of the Maria featured in the documentary, and Assistant Professor Chei Billedo.

A. Introduction: “Documenting Duterte’s Drug War” by Eloisa May P. Hernandez PhD, Professor Department of Art Studies, University of the Philippines, 15 minutes

B. Film Showing: Maria by She Andes, 2023, 75 minutes

C. Panel discussion, 30mins

She Andres, director and writer of Maria
Mary Ann Domingo, one of the Maria in the documentary
Reactor: Cherrie Joy F. Billedo PhD, Assistant Professor, Department of Communication Science, University of Amsterdam