Today is the International Day of Democracy. UN Sustainable Development Goal 16 addresses democracy by calling for inclusive and participatory societies and institutions. It aims to ‘Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels.’ The goal provides a measure for all countries to live up to. As part of our special feature, this photo gallery offers a glimpse into how the Philippines is measuring up to these goals. All photos by Iris Gonzales.
Traffic in Metro Manila has worsened in recent years, prompting novelist Dan Brown to depict it in his book Inferno as the Gates of Hell. It is estimated that the traffic costs $57 million a day in potential income. Corruption in road construction, which has caused poor quality road and highways and the delay in the bidding of new trains has been among the major reasons for the traffic.
The Philippines, a predominantly Catholic country, has a population of more than 100 million. About a quarter of the population, however, live below the poverty threshold or around a dollar a day. Many take odd jobs to survive, selling food, vegetables or bootleg shoes and clothes on the streets. Many of these people are also homeless, sleeping in makeshift slums or even just in the streets. They are proof that economic growth – 6.9 per cent in the first half of the year from 5.5 per cent previously – has not been inclusive. The population continues to grow because the Catholic Church has always stood strong against contraceptives.
President Duterte has declared an all out war against people in the drug trade. There are already at least 2,400 drug-related deaths according to police. In a community in Quezon City, one evening in September, a team of police killed an alleged drug pusher as part of its anti-drug campaign. The crowd in the slum community look on as the police take the lifeless body to the morgue for an autopsy.
Below, a 26-year-old alleged party drug dealer, selling drugs such as Ecstasy and Valium, is caught in the act during a buy-bust operation.