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A Meth Dealer Talks About Dodging Death in the Philippines

Since July 1 Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs has seen around 2,500 people executed. That’s about 38 every day. The Filipino president argues he’s weaning the nation off methamphetamines, but a recent visit showed me that’s not the full picture.

It started in inner-city Manila where I was trying to convince a street vendor I didn’t want Viagra. After a lot of back and forth, Marco (let’s call him Marco) gave up, leaned in, and made it clear he could supply me with anything.

Marco was obviously high. His swollen pupils told me he hadn’t slept in days, but I was fascinated. On an impulse I offered to take him out to lunch, and over beers and a plate of chicken, the 47-year-old practicing Muslim explained (in pretty good English) how the local drug market struggles on, despite the bloodshed.

This article originally appeared on VICE Australia


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