PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte has vowed to press on with his war on drugs as he assured the public that the number of addicts would be “at its lowest” by the end of his term.
In his speech at the 11th Ambassadors’ Tour Philippine reception in Davao City on Friday night, Duterte said he would do everything to end the scourge of illegal drugs in the country within his term.
“I have to stop drugs, really stop. And it will stop. I assure you, by the time I make my — kung buhay pa ako [if I am still alive]— five years from now, drugs will be at its lowest,” the President said.
“I, Rodrigo Duterte, will defend and protect the Filipino nation… Nobody can really stop me,” he added.
The President reiterated that there were four million drug addicts in the country.
“You saw it when they started to surrender by the hundreds of thousands everyday. And you think that I have still to… due process. Meron naman talaga (There is actually) due process,” he said.
Duterte said the public should not listen to critics accusing his government of committing extrajudicial killings to curb the drug menace.
“Ngayon, kayong mga andiyan nakikinig, sinasabi ninyo na extrajudicial killing. Wala ‘yan [Those of you listening now, you claim this is extrajudicial killing. It is not],” the President said.
“So, find me a law — wherever you come from — point out to me a law in your country and in my country, which says you cannot threaten a criminal from destroying your country. Is there a law, which says you cannot do it? Is there a law which says that you cannot blurt such statements as, ‘Do not bring our children to perdition because you’ll not only lose your funds, you’ll lose your life,'” he added.
Duterte issued the statement anew following the reported resurgence of the illegal drug trade at the New Bilibid Prison (NBP) despite the presence of Special Action Force (SAF) troopers and the resignation of Bureau of Corrections chief Benjamin De Los Santos.
On Friday, Palace spokesman Ernesto Abella said certain actions were being undertaken to address the drug situation at the NBP.
He also said the resurgence has definitely presented quite a challenge for Duterte.
“Certain actions may have been overtaken by events, especially by what has happened down South. But that is not the excuse,” Abella said, referring to the ongoing armed conflict in Marawi City, Lanao del Sur.
“If you’re asking if the President is dismayed, definitely this presents quite a challenge. However, we’re up to it and we will make sure that is properly addressed,” he added.
Under the Constitution, Duterte’s six-year term will end 2022.