The Philippines is in the midst of a brutal war on drugs sanctioned by the controversial President Rodrigo Duterte, which has seen almost 2,000 killings in a matter of weeks. The BBC’s Jonathan Head explores the country’s dark underbelly of dealers and assassins through the story of one woman trapped in a chilling predicament.
When you meet an assassin who has killed six people, you don’t expect to encounter a diminutive, nervous young woman carrying a baby.
“My first job was two years ago in this province nearby. I felt really scared and nervous because it was my first time.”
Maria, not her real name, now carries out contract killings as part of the government-sanctioned war on drugs.
She is part of a hit team that includes three women, who are valued because they can get close to their victims without arousing the same suspicion a man would.