Philippines' war on drugs claims second child's life

Althea Barbon and her father Alrick.

Althea Barbon and her father Alrick.

A four-year-old girl hugging her father on the back of a motorcycle while being taken to buy popcorn is among the latest victims of Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte's shoot-on-sight crackdown on drug pushers in the Philippines that has left 2400 people dead since July 1.

Althea Barbon was shot by police in Guihulngan City on Negros Island.

Duterte, 71, swept into office after the country's May elections promising a violent end to the nation's drug epidemic and often calls his critics "sons of bitches" or "sons of whores".

Police said Althea's death was "collateral" damage in Duterte's war on drugs, which has been condemned by the US, the United Nations, the Catholic Church and many civil society organisations in the Philippines.

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Althea's father, Pim Alrick Barbon, had been put on a list of drug suspects and was carrying a gun and drugs when he took Althea shopping, said police.

"We regret a lot that a child was killed when she was not the target," said Denila Katalbas, the police chief in Guihulngan City.

"Had we seen the child we would not have pushed through with the operation. We would have cancelled. We policemen are humans, we are not animals," he added.

Althea's death came only days after a five-year-old girl was shot dead by unidentified gunmen who attacked a home in Dagupan City, north of Manila.

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The bullet in that case was meant for her grandfather, who has also been put on a drug suspect list.

 - Sydney Morning Herald

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