Over a hundred organisations in the Philippines are calling on Apple to take down gaming apps associated with President Duterte’s war on drugs.
The letter addressed to Apple CEO Tim Cook was signed by 131 organisations, including human rights groups, and drug rehabilitation centres. In it, they ask for the tech giant to “immediately remove apps that are promoting murder, extrajudicial killings, violence and the war on drugs in the Philippines.”
Some of the games include titles such as: Duterte Fighting Crime 2, Duterte vs Zombies, Duterminator and Duterte Knows Kung Fu: Pinoy Crime Fighter.
The games, some of which are also available on the Google Play store, see Duterte doing everything from shooting guns at criminals to killing drug dealers.
The organisations against the games say that they “valorise and normalise the emerging tyranny of Duterte’s presidency and his government’s disregard for human rights.
“These games may seem harmless and fun, but when placed within the context of existing realities…[they] become offensive.”
The creator of Duterte Fighting Crime 2, Joseph Pascual, last year told DW that he created the game because he liked Duterte and found the president “entertaining.”
His game, which is based on the president’s anti-drug campaign, sees Duterte slinging guns and throwing grenades.
According to DW, the game has been downloaded 2 million times from both the Apple and Google Play stores. It also has a rating of 4.5 stars on the app stores, with mostly favourable reviews.
The issue of drug-related deaths is a sensitive one in the Philippines, a country which has recently seen thousands killed as a result of the president’s anti-drug campaign.
The controversial campaign was initially aimed at wiping out the drug trade in the Philippines, but has resulted in up to 7,000 killed, according to Amnesty International.
President Duterte, who has been nicknamed The Punisher, had praised the crackdown, saying that if the country “could kill another 32 [drug users] every day, then maybe we can reduce what ails this country.”
His police force has been accused of planning extrajudicial killings, and he has also previously said that he was “happy to slaughter” drug users and dismissed the death of minors as “collateral damage.”
But Duterte on Thursday pulled the country’s police force off the anti-drug campaign, instead handing it over to the country’s drug enforcement agency, in light of growing criticism of the crackdown.
Mashable has reached out to Apple for comment.