Drug War In The Philippines: 5-Year-Old Girl Becomes Youngest Casualty

The drug war in the Philippines has worsened in terms of respect for human life as recent reports revealed how a 5-year-old girl became the youngest casualty among thousands of deaths in the country.

Danica Mae, a 5-year-old kindergarten student from the Northern city of Dagupan in the Philippines, died on Tuesday after taking a bullet to the head from an unidentified gunman during the ongoing drug war in the country.

According to the Human Rights Watch, the gunman opened fire while the family was sitting down for lunch in the neighborhood that is relatively close to the city proper.

Apparently, Danica Mae got caught up in her grandfather’s affairs after he was listed among the people linked to drug trade in the community.

Reports say that Maximo Garcia, Danica’s grandfather, had already talked to local police to clear his name, claiming that he was innocent of any drug-related crime. Garcia was also shot in the chest but was lucky enough to survive the attack.

Dagupan City police Chief Neil Miro explained to CNN that while the motive for the shooting was not yet clear, they have reason to believe that it was related to drugs.

“We are still investigating the real motive, but since Maximo Garcia surrendered last Friday for drug use, we have reason to believe the attack was related to his drug activities,” he stated.

Miro confirmed that they already have a witness who could identify the gunman though the shooter remains at large.

“We have a witness who came forward to identify the gunman. I will withhold the name of the suspect, but it seems it may have something to do with illegal drugs, too,” he said.

Simultaneously with Danica’s death, Philippine Department of Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre explained the need for “desperate measures” during Filipino President Rodrigo Duterte’s drug war.

At the time, he also expressed his firm support for the Filipino president’s actions which are in line with his vow during his campaign “to do everything to stop drugs, crime, and corruption.”

“Desperate times call for desperate measures. So this is what the president is doing and we support it.”

The Philippine Constitution stipulates that the government should protect its people’s life, liberty, and property through fair and just governance. Unfortunately, the current administration appears to have a lack of respect for the first two when a citizen becomes linked to illegal drugs.

[Photo by Bullit Marquez/AP Images]
Duterte has repeatedly caught the attention of the international community not only for his blunt and tactless speaking but also for his iron hand when it comes to dealing with drug crime. But that is not to say that he impressed the international community.

In fact, he has received quite a lot of “reminders” from the United Nations, the United States, and non-governmental organizations like the Human Rights Watch since the beginning of his drug war to respect human rights, especially the right to life of even those who are accused of being criminals.

Danica Mae may be just a spec of this statistics in the eyes of the government, but to her family, she is a significant part of their lives that was unexpectedly taken from them during the fearsome drug war.

This is so painful to us. I would miss the nights when Danica would massage us until we fell asleep. I would miss her laughter when she teased her mother,” Danica’s grandmother Gemma Garcia told the Russia Today.

As cited by CNN, the Human Rights Watch revealed that the Philippines have already recorded a total of 1,916 killings since the beginning of the drug war, including 756 from police operations and 1160 unsolved ones.

[Photo by Bullit Marquez/AP Images]

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