Manila Mayor Joseph Ejercito Estrada on Saturday lauded President Rodrigo Duterte’s “shame campaign” against his fellow mayors who are involved in illegal drugs, saying the President is on the right track.
“He’s right,” Estrada said as he reiterated his unwavering support to Duterte’s hardline anti-drug policies. The mayor added that drug addiction should be stopped through early prevention.
“If the President will not go after and shame those mayors and other elected public officials who are involved in illegal drugs, pretty soon we’ll have top government officials, even senators, who are in cahoots with drug syndicates. We don’t want our country to be run by drug lords,” he added.
On Friday, three mayors – Maguing Mayor Mamaulan Abinal Molok and former Marantao Mayor Mohammad Ali Abinal, both from Lanao Del Sur, and Ampatuan, Maguindanao Mayor Rasul Sangki surrendered to Philippine National Police chief Ronaldo Dela Rosa.
The three were in Duterte’s watch list of 27 mayors linked to the illegal drug trade, according to Dela Rosa.
Amid mounting criticisms against the rampant killings of drug suspects, Estrada said he will continue to support Duterte’s anti-drug policies.
Asked if he supports Duterte’s “shoot-on-sight” order against drug traffickers, the mayor replied: “As much as possible they should fight back so they get killed. So they will all be gone.”
“I’m serious because it involves the future of young people,” Estrada added.
The mayor had been waging war on drugs since he was elected Vice President and headed the Presidential Anti-Crime Commission (PACC) in 1992.
In Manila, the mayor is implementing the local version of Drug Abuse Resistance Education (DARE) program, an interactive, classroom-based substance abuse prevention and education course that seeks to prevent the use of prohibited drugs, membership in gangs, and violent behavior among the youth.
Through DARE, with police officers acting as instructors, students are taught how to avoid drugs at a young age.
“Our jails are already full. So the best way to lessen the human costs, lessen crimes and prevent jail congestion is to really prevent and stop addiction before it starts,” Estrada pointed out.