Apple Pulls App Store Games That Glorify Philippine President Duterte’s Violent Drugs War

Apple has taken down games from its App Store that glorify the Philippine government's deadly drugs war, according to a regional organization supporting victims of illegal drugs (via The Philippine Star).

Last month, the Asian Network of People who Use Drugs (ANPUD) sent Apple CEO Tim Cook a letter demanding that the company remove several iOS games which it said valorized "the emerging tyranny of Duterte's presidency and his government's disregard for human rights principles".

Tsip Bato by Ranida Games

The group named 131 organizations from several countries as supportive of the letter of complaint, with groups working on human rights, youth and drug policy reform among them.

In a statement posted on its website yesterday, ANPUD said that it never received a direct response from Cook, but the runner games that its letter accused of promoting murder, extrajudicial killings and violence appeared to have been removed as of Tuesday.

They include Duterte knows Kung Fu: Pinoy Crime Fighter, Duterte Running Man Challenge Game, Fighting Crime 2, and Tsip Bato: Ang Bumangga Giba!, all of which featured Duterte or Philippine National Police chief (Ronald) Bato dela Rosa shooting down criminals while evading obstacles.

Despite their removal from Apple's App Store, the games remain available for Android users to download from the Google Play store.

Police chief Ronald dela Rosa told the Philippine Star that the removal of the games was a good idea, and that the government's operation to tackle drug users was not about killing or the use of violence, despite Duterte openly endorsing extrajudicial killings in his drugs war campaign.

"They made the wrong interpretation. Tokhang [the campaign] is not about shooting people," dela Rosa told reporters. Rather, he said, it involved policemen knocking on people's doors and urging suspects to stop illegal drug-related activities.

As least 7,000 suspected drug dealers and users were killed in the first six months of Duterte's crackdown, according to estimates from The Human Rights Watch group. Many of the killings are attributed to "unidentified gunmen".

Note: Due to the political nature of the discussion regarding this topic, the discussion thread is located in our Politics, Religion, Social Issues forum. All forum members and site visitors are welcome to read and follow the thread, but posting is limited to forum members with at least 100 posts.


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Activists Urge Apple to Remove App Store Games That Play Up Philippine Drugs War

A group of civil society organizations has demanded that Apple remove games from its App Store that promote violence and killings commonplace in the Philippines' war on drugs (via Reuters).

The games in question, which the group said violated Apple's own guidelines, include characters based on Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte and his national police chief, Ronaldo "Bato" dela Rosa, who engage criminals in gun battles and fistfights.

Tsip Bato by Ranida Games
"These games valorise and normalise the emerging tyranny of Duterte's presidency and his government's disregard for human rights principles," the Asian Network of People who Use Drugs (ANPUD) said in an open letter to Apple CEO Tim Cook.
The group named 131 organizations from several countries as supportive of the October 10 complaint to Apple, with groups working on human rights, youth and drug policy reform among them.

They urged the tech giant to issue an apology for hosting such "insensitive content". Apple has yet to respond to the letter.

Thousands have been killed in Duterte's war on drugs, a 15-month-long campaign that has caused international alarm. Human rights groups say state-sponsored executions are taking place, but authorities vehemently reject the claim.

Games available in the App Store that have come in for criticism include Fighting Crime 2, Duterte Knows Kung Fu, Duterte Running Man Challenge, Tsip Bato, and Duterte Vs Zombies. The civil rights groups said the games "might seem harmless and fun" but are offensive and distasteful because of the reality and prevalence of state-sanctioned murder with impunity.

Ben Joseph Banta, a managing partner of Ranida Games, which developed Tsip Bato, told Reuters in an email that the aim of its game was "not to promote violence", but that it sought to discourage drug use with the use of banner messages opposing drugs that were visible to players.

"We understand the human rights groups and we're very much open to make changes in the game in order to remove the stigma that the game is promoting violence," said Banta.

On Thursday, The Guardian reported that President Duterte had ordered police to end all operations in his war on drugs. In a televised speech he said he hoped a shift to target big networks would satisfy "bleeding hearts" and interfering western states fixated on the high death toll in his brutal crackdown.

Note: Due to the political nature of the discussion regarding this topic, the discussion thread is located in our Politics, Religion, Social Issues forum. All forum members and site visitors are welcome to read and follow the thread, but posting is limited to forum members with at least 100 posts.


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Globe’s ‘Rogue One’ ad is a heck of a tearjerker aimed at inspiring courage

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A partnership between Filipino telecom Globe and Disney Southeast Asia has produced one of the greatest tear-jerking-warm-your-heart ads that’ll strike your feed today.

The ad features a shy girl who wears a Stormtrooper helmet to school, as a shield for a disability.

We won’t spoil it for you, but suffice it to say, the rousing reveal is worth it.

The ad is part of Globe’s #Create campaign promote and protect the rights of Filipino girls and young women — and this time using the magic of a galaxy far, far away.

Globe is also offering a chance to win a trip to Florida for Star Wars events, movie tickets, and oodles of merch, ahead of the film’s premiere on Dec. 15. Read more…

More about Star Wars, Disney, Philippines, Globe Telecom, and Rogue One