Duterte vows ‘harsh and vi­o­lent’ war on drugs

Gulf Times - - PHILIPPINES - By Cather­ine S Va­lente

Pres­i­dent Ro­drigo Duterte has warned of “wide­spread vi­o­lence” as he con­tin­ues his “harsh” cam­paign against the il­le­gal drug-trade in the coun­try.

In his speech dur­ing an event in Mala­canang on Wed­nes­day night, Duterte said he was “pre­pared” for the harsh­ness and vi­o­lence his drug war could in­sti­gate.

“I’ll try to fin­ish, I’m not promis­ing but we are all agreed the po­lice and the Armed Forces, we will try to fin­ish this. And I will be harsh. And there might be re­ally wide­spread vi­o­lence, but I am pre­pared for that,” he added.

“If that is the only way how to do it, then… If we have to die, then so be it, we die. Af­ter all we are, we should be in heaven,” the pres­i­dent said.

Duterte also re­newed his vow to de­stroy any­one who would de­stroy the na­tion with il­le­gal drugs. “Just like when I said when I was mayor, ‘Do not de­stroy my city be­cause I will kill you. Do not de­stroy our sons and daugh­ters be­cause I will kill you.’ When I be­came pres­i­dent I said the same thing. ‘Please do not de­stroy my coun­try,’” he said. Un­til he be­came Pres­i­dent, Duterte was a long-time mayor of Davao City in Min­danao in south­ern Philip­pines.

The po­lice force had been on the front­line of Duterte’s war on drugs be­fore he trans­ferred the reins to the Philip­pine Drug En­force­ment Agency over a string of crimes linked to anti-narcotics op­er­a­tions of the Philip­pine Na­tional Po­lice.

On Mon­day, the pres­i­dent in­structed the mil­i­tary and po­lice to re­assess their op­er­a­tional pro­ce­dures dur­ing law en­force­ment op­er­a­tions.

He ex­pressed dis­ap­point­ment that some po­lice­men and sol­diers kill crim­i­nal sus­pects in­stead of fol­low­ing of­fi­cial pro­ce­dures.

“I told the po­lice not to com­mit abuse. You can kill them legally and why do you have to kill them il­le­gally?” Duterte said in a speech at Mala­canang. More than 4,000 drug sus­pects have been killed in po­lice anti-drug op­er­a­tions un­der the Duterte ad­min­is­tra­tion be­cause, ac­cord­ing to au­thor­i­ties, they re­sisted ar­rest.

Hu­man rights groups, mean­while, con­tend that the death toll, in­clud­ing al­leged vic­tims of sum­mary killings, could be more than 10,000.

Ro­drigo Duterte: crack­down against drugs

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