By the time President Rodrigo Duterte declared martial law in the Philippines on Tuesday, the government had already been forced to declare a nationwide state of emergency.
The martial law was the most drastic response yet to the government’s bloody crackdown on drugs.
The government said it had detained more than 3,000 people, mostly drug traffickers and drug users, for alleged drug crimes.
It also declared a state of disaster, a nationwide curfew and forced hospitals and public transport to close.
This comes as Duterte is trying to crack down on illegal drugs in a country with a population of about 6.3 million, which has a population density of just over one million people per square kilometre.
But for many people, the declaration of martial law comes as little more than a temporary measure.
Many are already living under the protection of police, who are also now operating in the streets, while many others have not yet been able to return to their homes, the Associated Press reported.
They are now waiting to see what comes next, said Dr Hilario Sanchez, who heads a group of social workers, social entrepreneurs and drug counsellors in the capital Manila.
Sanchez said he has seen a significant increase in drug use among those caught up in the government crackdown, but it was still too early to say whether it was the result of the martial law.
“I would say we still don’t know how this will impact the situation,” he said.
Sanchez, a psychiatrist, said the most vulnerable among those affected by the martial order are the elderly and people with disabilities.
“We know that elderly people are particularly vulnerable, so they are particularly affected,” he added.
“They have the biggest social and economic impact.”
Duterte, who took office last year after a three-year term as president, has vowed to “liberate” the country from its long-term drugs problem and has promised to crack the drug trade.
He has made drug use one of his top priorities.
The declaration of a state emergency also comes amid a worsening crackdown on the nation’s illegal drugs trade.
It came a day after Duterte said he was preparing to impose martial law to “restore order” after police in his hometown of Davao City killed at least 17 suspected drug dealers and addicts on Friday night.
The killings triggered a national lockdown in the city.
Thousands of people have been arrested and at least five people have died since Duterte declared the martial rule in the southern city on Sunday.
Duterte’s government said the raids were carried out by “criminals, instigators and murderers” in the “armed conflict” against him.
The military has also said it will be taking part in the operation.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.