Drug war-related killings of children continue, refuting Marcos Jr’s claims

Dominic Gutoman
2 min readMar 25, 2024

In the first six months of the Marcos Jr administration, the Children’s Legal Rights and Development Center documented 12 children killed. In 2023, 20 children died in Caloocan and Manila alone.


MANILA — Despite the pronouncements of lesser violence by the administration of Ferdinand Marcos Jr., a legal center said that children continue to be victimized by the continuous war on drugs.

In a children’s rights forum at the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) on March 15, the Children’s Legal Rights and Development Center (CLRDC), through its Executive Director Rowena Legaspi, said that children should not be “collateral damage.”

“Most of the children or parents are orphaned by the drug war, some want revenge, while others are clueless at a young age. Other victims also shoulder the burden of being the breadwinner of the siblings left behind,” Legaspi said.

In their own monitoring, they verified 157 children victims of the war on drugs during the administration of Rodrigo Duterte. They coordinated with the victims’ families and secured legal documents in their verification process.

However, the killings of children did not stop there. In the first six months of the Marcos Jr administration, they documented 12 children killed. In 2023, 20 children died in Caloocan and Manila alone.

“We have not included here yet the survivors. Many of the survivors also lost a big part of themselves — their families are ostracized, children are heavily traumatized. Some fear even the sound of the motorcycle,” Legaspi said.

These reports of continuous drug war killings, with children as casualties, are contrary to the claims of Marcos Jr in his recent state visit to Germany where he said that there is lessened violence compared to the drug war of the previous Duterte administration. He also claimed that some of the officers behind the killings were convicted.

This is also misleading since only two convictions of police officers were recorded, with one coming from the Duterte administration.

“The government should protect and provide appropriate interventions to the children and parents orphaned by the drug war,” Legaspi said.

In 2020, the CLRDC submitted a report to the UN Committee Against Torture (CAT) to probe the investigation of children victims of torture, from the traces of detention to the killings, in the Philippines. They also filed a case at the CHR back in 2018 and Legaspi said that they have not yet received any feedback or development from the case.

The Philippines is a state party to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment. This means that the Philippine government is obligated to prioritize the rights of children in society and take effective measures to prevent any acts of torture. (RTS, DAA)



Dominic Gutoman

Covers human rights, environment, grassroots initiatives, and accountability mechanisms at bulatlat.com.