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‘They Are Slaughtering Us Like Animals’, Photographs and Text by Daniel Berehulak, Dec. 7, 2016.


Inside President Rodrigo Duterte’s brutal antidrug campaign in the Philippines, our photojournalist documented 57 homicide victims over 35 days.

YOU HEAR A MURDER SCENE before you see it: The desperate cries of a new widow. The piercing sirens of approaching police cars. The thud, thud, thud of the rain drumming on the pavement of a Manila alleyway — and on the back of Romeo Torres Fontanilla.

Tigas, as Mr. Fontanilla was known, was lying facedown in the street when I pulled up after 1 a.m. He was 37. Gunned down, witnesses said, by two unknown men on a motorbike. The downpour had washed his blood into the gutter.

The rain-soaked alley in the Pasay district of Manila was my 17th crime scene, on my 11th day in the Philippines capital. I had come to document the bloody and chaotic campaign against drugs that President Rodrigo Duterte began when he took office on June 30: since then, about 2,000 people had been slain at the hands of the police alone.

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Daniel’s photos illustrate bloody scenes: on sidewalks, near train tracks, in front of convenience stores and McDonald’s restaurants, and across bedroom mattresses and living room sofas. They are graphic and intense, and they show us the effects of President Duterte’s effort.

What is it like to be on the seeing end of the camera; to bear witness, and to take photos that are difficult to look at? In this podcast, the Pulitzer Prize-winning Times photographer Daniel Berehulak talks about his experience.

Susan Lehman is host.

Inside The Times

41 Murder Scenes. 57 Bodies. 35 Days in Manila. A Photographer’s Perspective

In this podcast, the Times photographer Daniel Berehulak describes chronicling the drug war by President Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines.