President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday asked for another year to end the drug menace, virtually admitting that he needs more time to curb the “resurgence” of illegal drugs.
On the campaign trail, Duterte had promised to eradicate the drug problem within three to six months after getting elected.
Speaking before newly appointed government officials in Malacañang, Duterte said the government’s fight against illegal drugs will continue despite widespread criticisms over the alleged extrajudicial killings of suspected drug personalities.
“Itong sa droga, wala itong katapusan (This drug problem, it will not stop). It’s a non-issue to me and I will not answer it anymore, except to say that my oath of office demands that I protect the Filipino people and that the Republic of the Philippines is safe. That is the long and short of it,” Duterte said in his speech.
“Wala na akong istorya pa na (I don’t care about the story of) extrajudicial killing. It will happen if it will happen. It cannot happen, if it cannot happen. Wala akong pakialam (I don’t care). Basta sabi ko sa droga (But as I have said in drugs), I hope to finish the problem. Maybe give me just another year,” he added.
Duterte made the statement a day after he signed Memorandum Order 17 directing the Philippine National Police (PNP) to provide “active support” to the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA), which remains the lead agency tasked to address the drug menace.
Memorandum Order 17 overrules the October 10 memorandum signed by Duterte, which instructed the PNP to merely maintain police visibility while the PDEA conducts its nationwide operations against illicit narcotics trade.
The President said he ordered the participation of the PNP anew because of the “notable resurgence in illegal drug activities and crimes committed” since he directed the PDEA to handle the drug problem.
The PNP, he said, was brought back to the drug war anew to curb the narcotics sale in the country.
“Babalik ang pulis, babalik ‘yan (The police will return, they will return)…My request is very simple. It is doable by anybody, with no effort at all,” Duterte said.
“When I was mayor and then I became President, I only had one message for everybody: ‘Do not destroy my country because I will kill you. Do not destroy the young Filipinos, they are our only assets,’” he added.