This research titled ‘The impact of Duterte’s war on drugs on the perceived safety of Filipino inhabitants and the impact on the regime’s legitimacy’ is a Post Graduate thesis authored by Iris Kattouw, a Masters student from Radbound University Nijmegen. The author followed a survey, ethnographic research design- he stayed in the Province of Antique for 3 months to live among the locals and experience for himself the changes that the drug war has brought to the community.
As stated earlier, this research was done in Antique, and the respondents were from different walks of life.
The researcher interviewed several people from different parts of Antique, from the busy, high crime town of Comon to the quieter, and generally safer Barangays of San Fernando, Bagong Bayan and Hamtic. To generalize, the people of Comon (the busier Barangay), especially the ones located in the center of the town (the busiest part) were the ones who noticed the most improvement, as drug addicts and pushers were often the ones who were in the town plaza, loitering and doing drug transactions as early as evening, making the area feel unsafe.
There was also a notable correlation (directly proportional, e.g. Comon has a high crime rate and a high level of poverty) between the level of poverty in a Barangay and the severity of the crime and drug problem observed in that Barangay, which in turn greatly influences the perception of safety in the Barangay. Quite paradoxically, the respondents from Barangay San Fernando and the lower crime rate barangays felt less safe because of the drug war, as they feared that they themselves would be victims of the state sponsored violence and the EJKs.
The majority of the respondents were not too bothered by the state violence and the EJKs as they had this notion that only the drug personalities were the only ones being chased by the police, some of the respondents were in favor of the state violence, as they believe that it is one of the things that helped in improving the safety of the town.
Most of the respondents also felt that there was a need for the “state violence”, especially the respondents who’ve experience and have felt more troubled by the drug and crime situation- “In their eyes, the state does its job well and they feel protected because of the state violence”. (Kattouw, 2018). Though this Thesis gives great insight into the perception of safety of Filipinos with regards to the drug war, this Thesis isn’t without its faults. As the researcher does not know how to speak the native language, there was a language barrier which greatly limited the respondents’ ability to say what they wanted to say in greater detail. Also, the drug war and the drug situation in the Greater Manila Area is more accurate and is ‘ground zero’- it is where the ‘action is taking place’.