James Jones, a British filmmaker, has challenged President Duterte and his administration to watch their drug war documentary, “On the President’s Orders,” before criticizing it as an “overdramatization“ of what’s really happening in the Philippines.
Both Jones and Olivier Sarbil, a French who directed the film, are Emmy Award-winning filmmakers. They have followed the operations of Caloocan City police force in mitigating illegal drugs in the country as ordered by Duterte.
They also followed the story of a man who was killed by masked riding men during daylight.
Jones mentioned that Palace should not say such statement without even watching the whole documentary first.
“I would urge people in the administration and Duterte supporters at home and abroad, some of whom have come and protested our screenings in London, to watch the film to engage in debate about it and to understand…the people who are dying do have families,” he said.
Jones created this taped statements about Malacañang to be listened to by several people in the media who were invited to watch the whole documentary.
The documentary is set to premiere in some theaters in the United States and will air on October on PBS.
War on Drugs
Jones said that their visit to the Philippines in October 2017 for the filming of the documentary had no particular agenda.
The film took 9 months to finish, which is based on the recommendation of a Filipino photo-journalist to capture the Caloocan City police chief Jemar Modequillo who seemed “charismatic and attention-seeking”.
“Our objective was to get the truth and understand why these killings were happening and how they could be justified,” Jones said.
After the showing of the documentary in Quezon City, human rights advocates push critics of the campaign to continue to fight for the sake of poor people, who are frequently the victims of the war on drugs.
“The bottomline is the government has actually treated these people like animals, like insects,” Dr. Nymia Simbulan of Philippine Human Rights Information Center said.
“The day of reckoning will come,” Atty. Gian Arabejo of the Alternative Law Groups added.
The exclusive screening of the film and showing of Jones’ taped message was organized by Active Vista International Human Rights Film Festival.