Journalist G Töngi-Walters Discusses the Drug Crisis in the Philippines

Journalist Kababayan-Tongi hosts a presentation on drugs and alcohol in the Philippines in Santa Monica College, in Santa Monica Calif. on Thursday, May 18, 2017. (Zane Meyer-Thornton)

On Thursday, May 18, journalist Töngi Walters shared her experience and opinion on the current situation in the Philippines related to drugs, government, and disinformation with students at Santa Monica College.

Giselle “G” Töngi-Walters, a journalist and TV host who was born in the Philippines but later moved to the US, explained how problems related to drug use became a bigger issue in the Philippines, especially in and around impoverished communities and after the election of current president Rodrigo Duterte.

Walters also addressed the lack of commitment from the government to investigate the alarming amount of murders in the Philippines’ communities and how citizens support the country’s new anti-drug movements.

According to Walters, the thousands of murders in the Philippines are the result of a policy intended to eliminate and reduce citizens who consume and sell illicit drugs. She argues that even though that might be a good cause, the government of the Philippines is violating the human rights of their citizens.

The new anti-drug moment caused a sharp increase in extrajudicial killings. Families of victims cannot have a formal investigation because of financial problems.“At this point, people in the Philippines don’t even know if those murders are being committed by the government or just by their fellow citizens,” said G Töngj. Either way, the majority of the country supports the anti-drug movement because they believe it’s for “their own good”.

Walters also shared her personal experience with fact checking news within the media in the Philippines, and how public personalities allegedly contribute a culture of disinformation. She claimed to receive public condemnation and even death threats after she criticized Philippine media.

At the end of her speech, Töngi Walters stressed the importance of Filipino Americans knowing what is really going on in their motherland. She also reminded everyone in the audience to fact check whatever news they read and to not just believe what headlines may say.

Walters ended the discussion by “setting the record straight” and making it clear she thinks President Duterte is a passionate person. According to Walters, he has stated that he wants to build a safe and clean country, but his methods are a violation of human rights.