Apple Removes Games That Glorify Duterte’s War on Drugs in the Philippines

Tsip Bato - Duterte

Rodrigo Duterte, President of the Philippines is known for his violent war on drugs. Developers have leveraged the popularity of this polarizing leader by launching games that glorify his actions. Apple is now taking action against those developers by removing such apps and games from the App Store in the Philippines.

This comes after the Asian Network of People who Use Drugs (ANPUD) sent a letter addressed to Apple CEO Tim Cook demanding the removal of these apps. While Apple has been quick to do something about this, games still continue to populate on Android’s Play Store and is likely to spread further.

The ANPUD in its letter mentioned that these games panegyrized Duterte’s violent actions which involves executions and other severe forms of torture that blatantly disregard human rights. Games like “Duterte Running Man Challenge Game“, “Fighting Crime 2“, and “Tsip Bato: Ang Bumangga Giba!” have been officially removed from the iTunes App Store.

The Human Rights Watch group has estimated that around 7,000 suspected drug dealers were executed within the first six months of Duterte’s war on drugs began. Duterte, has on multiple occasions, openly vouched for extrajudicial killings. This has concerned several world leaders and human rights groups.

The ANPUD has clarified that it never received a direct response from Tim Cook regarding the letter, but the fact that Apple has removed the violating games from the App Store is an acknowledgment of the concerns raised by the group. It will be interesting to see if Google will follow in Apple’s footsteps and remove such apps from the Play Store.