Since Rodrigo Duterte took to office a year ago, more than 12,000 homicides have taken place in the Philippines, half of which are estimated to be drug-related. The victims—suspected drug users and pushers—do not enjoy due process. and they are almost always killed at night. Despite this bloody purge that has summoned condemnation from human rights groups around the world, Duterte enjoys a high approval rating. Duterte won the presidency a year ago in a landslide victory promising to kill thousands in an all out-war against drugs. "All of you who are into drugs, you sons of bitches, I will really kill you," Duterte said a month before he was elected.
Ezra Acayan is a documentary and editorial photographer based in Manila whose work primarily focuses on social issues and human rights. Currently, he is working on a documentary reportage on the suffering and abuse experienced by communities under the Philippine government's war on drugs. In 2017, together with a team of Reuters journalists, was awarded a special merit at the Human Rights Press Awards for multimedia reporting on the drug war. This work—along with work by other journalists who cover the drug war—was also exhibited in Geneva during the Universal Periodic Review of the Philippines at the United Nations Human Rights Council, and in Sarajevo during the WARM Festival. He has done multimedia work for various outfits such as Reuters, European Pressphoto Agency, Agence France-Presse, Deutsche Presse-Agentur, French Society magazine, Rappler, and Rogue. He has also done work for NGOs such as Diakonie Katastrophenhilfe, Care International, and the French Red Cross. His work has appeared in Time, Newsweek, The New York Times, The Guardian, Wall Street Journal, Vice, Washington Post, Al Jazeera, Le Monde, Stern, Paris Match, and more.