President Rodrigo Duterte has vowed to press on with the administration’s war on drugs as he assured the public that the drug trade would dwindle to its lowest point by the end of his term.
In a 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 are 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 really is]due process,” he said.
The President said the public should not listen to critics attributing the extrajudicial killings of drug suspects to the government.
“Ngayon, kayong mga andiyan nakikinig, sinasabi ninyo na extrajudicial killing. Wala ‘yan [Those of you listening now, you claim that there are extrajudicial killings. There are none],” Duterte 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 resurgence of the illegal drug trade in the New Bilibid Prison (NBP) despite the presence of troopers, Special Action Force troopers and the resignation of Bureau of Corrections chief Benjamin de los Santos due to the issue.
On Friday, Palace spokesmaan Ernesto Abella said the situation at the NBP is being addressed.
“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,” Abella said.