A New Netflix Series Tells the Story of the Philippines’ Drug War. But Its Critics Are Condemning Amo as Propaganda

Photo via imdb.com

By Joseph Hincks/time.com – A week after it premiered, few of the extras that feature in Netflix’s first ever Philippine series had seen the show. Outside the barbecue stand she runs in the Manila neighborhood where Cannes award-winning director Brillante Mendoza shot Amo (pronounced “am-ohr,” it means boss), Nerisa Perez recalled acting in one of its scenes. A fictional SWAT team had raided a nearby shanty, killing her fictional brother, and Perez had to sink to her knees and lament his death. “What did my brother do?” was her line. None of the dozen or so people outside Perez’s stall — some of whom also appear in Amo — had caught their neighbor’s big moment. Still, their memories of the shoot were vivid: “It felt so real. We were afraid,” one said.

Mendoza’s apparent closeness to Duterte has prompted allegations that his series is propaganda for the bloody campaign. Officially, more than 4,000 people have been killed in police anti-drug operations since Duterte took office on June 30, 2016. However an opposition senator has alleged that as many as 20,000 people may have been killed on Duterte’s watch, citing a further 16,355 homicide cases classified as deaths “under investigation” from July 1, 2016 to Sept. 30, 2017.

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