• Billionaire Richard Branson appealed to President Duterte stop his war on drugs which resulted to 400 deaths since the President’s inauguration
  • Branson said Duterte’s plan is “bound to fail” as crime organizations will find a way to enter the market
  • He said it is a “clear and unacceptable violation of international human rights standards”

English billionaire business magnate and philanthropist Richard Branson aired his opinion on President Rodrigo Duterte’s war against illegal drug activities, which led to a series of extrajudicial killings and deaths of the innocent and accused alike.

In a blog Branson posted in his website, he illustrated the effect of Duterte’s ongoing crackdown on people involved with illegal drugs; citing that more than 400 people since the President’s inauguration has been murdered by either the police or vigilantes empowered by Duterte’s war on drugs.

He noted: “Friends familiar with the situation on the ground tell me that watch lists of alleged suspects are circulating, including club or bar owners that are now being considered “drug pushers”, as are politicians representing areas of high drug use.”

“These lists have fueled the ambitions of trigger-happy gunmen to do as they please. And more people are being killed because the actual drug lords are fighting back and killing people who they think would be whistle-blowers. It’s a situation that has spun completely out of control,” he added.

He also mentioned the emergence of a crisis with the country’s “already clogged prison system”, after 114,000 drug users and pushers turned themselves in to the authorities out of fear of falling victim to the extrajudicial killings.

Branson said that the Philippines is upholding “clear and unacceptable violations of international human rights standards.”

“Given how systematic and widespread these extrajudicial killings are, I wonder how long it will be until someone points out that what has been unfolding are actual crimes against humanity,” he wrote.

He expressed his doubts on Duterte’s plan of action and said it is “bound to fail”, as illegal drugs are a renewable resource and crime syndicates will always find new ways to penetrate the market.

“Tough law enforcement and zero tolerance will do nothing to reduce supply or demand of illegal drugs in the grand scheme of things. It’s been a bitter lesson for dozens of countries, from the US to Latin America,” he added.

Appealing to put a halt on Duterte’s campaign against drugs, Branson said: “Fighting fire with fire won’t work. The Philippines must reverse course immediately and choose evidence-based policies that put people first, reduce harm and put an end to these atrocities.”