‘Drug problem is a never-ending one’: Duterte
By Ruth Abbey Gita-Carlos / Philippine News Agency
MANILA – Almost five years after his administration launched a massive campaign against illegal drugs, President Rodrigo Roa Duterte said drug problem is a “never-ending one” and if not resolved, can put the country under the control of the narco-politicians.
This, according to Duterte during the launching of the Global Coalition of Lingkod Bayan Advocacy Support Groups and Force Multipliers that aims to build a strong collaborative partnership with the community in support of the ongoing campaign against criminality and terrorism on June 25.
“But if you want to see how it can destroy a country, just look at Mexico, [Sinaloa]. They are the ones who dictate who will run for governor in the local areas, who run for the mayor. It’s narco-politics,” Duterte said in his speech during the event organized by the Philippine National Police (PNP).
According to the government’s #RealNumbersPH data as of April 30 this year, the drug law enforcement agencies have conducted 200,632 anti-illegal drug operations, resulting in the arrest of 289,622 drug dependents and death of 6,117 people since July 1, 2016.
Operatives have also confiscated nearly PHP60 billion worth of illegal drugs, including some 7,748 kilograms of shabu worth PHP48.70 billion aside from dismantling 784 drug dens and clandestine laboratories nationwide.
“This is the one side story of people said 7,000 killed. Well, that was – five years I started to declare war (against illegal drugs). But the other side is how many policemen and soldiers did I lose? Aplenty,” Duterte said.
He reiterated that he will continue to defend police officers who perform their duties in accordance with the law.
“The policemen, do not worry, let me know if that is the case. I will defend you. Ako na mismo (I will) because I gave the lecture and I gave you the guarantee that I will protect you as long as you do your duty in accordance with law,” he said.
Spare “begging for his life”
Duterte, however, reminded that anyone who is under arrest and “begging for his life” must be spared from getting killed.
He said responding police officers and drug law enforcers can only use their guns, if the culprits offer resistance.
“You are not supposed to kill a person when he is down, crying, kneeling, begging for his life,” Duterte said. “That is the essence of the arrest. If he goes voluntarily with you, good. That would be the ideal arrest. But if they resist arrest violently, then you have every right also to do your thing, commensurate.”
He said almost 1,000 people arrested each day are connected with illegal drugs, leaving many dysfunctional families in the country.
“And the drugs has continued to be imported, getting inside into our communities and continue to plunder the lives of people and whatever income,” Duterte said. “There are shabu and they continue to number in billions until now. And the human rights are not even worried about home many children would still be destroyed and homes are, I said, rendered dysfunctional.”
He said criminality, illegal drugs, and corruption were among the problems he promised to address during the election campaign in 2016.
‘New batch of heroes’
Duterte said he is grateful that while the PNP is exhausting all efforts to stop spike in violent crimes, private citizens are also taking part in the “difficult task of achieving lasting peace across the nation.”
“We cannot overemphasize the valuable role of the PNP in deterring crime and maintaining peace and order in our society. But we cannot also deny the fact that if we are to totally eradicate criminality and terrorism, we need the active participation of our people,” he said.
He also viewed the “selfless volunteers” as a “new batch of heroes.”
“I trust your partnership with PNP will remain strong in years ahead. We all have a part in building a better nation. I am pleased to know that you have heeded the quality to serve and improve the quality of life of our people,” Duterte said. (PNA)