Duterte not backing down from war on illegal drugs » Manila Bulletin News



By Genalyn Kabiling

President Duterte is not backing down from the war on illegal drugs despite criticisms over the recent killings of teenagers.

President Rodrigo Duterte during the celebration of the 24th Anniversary of Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) at the Malacañang Palace on Thursday. (JAY GANZON)

The President advised critics to accept the government’s anti-drug campaign or “die from exasperation,” saying there would be “no letup” and “no compromise” in efforts to destroy organized crime in the country.

“Ako basta ‘yan. Either you accept it as a fact of your life now, today or you will die of exasperation, or you can kill me if you want. Feel free to do it basta wala tayong atrasan dito (There will be no retreat here),” he said in Davao City last Saturday.

“I will not be remembered as the President in whose time the Philippines went to the dogs because of drugs. Hindi ko kayang tanggapin ‘yan [I cannot accept that],” he said.

Under fire for the young victims of his war on drugs and crime, Duterte insisted that the campaign is targeting organized criminals trafficking drugs, and “not teenagers without a sin.”

Duterte also said he was ready to “rise or fall” on his anti-drug campaign to protect the nation.

“There will be no let up in the fight against organized crime. Ang shabu, organized crime talaga ‘yan. Sino ‘yung magpuslit, sino ‘yung mag pick-up. Destroy the organization,” he said.

“I cannot back down on it. No way. Tutuparin ko ‘yung pangako ko sa Pilipino (I will fulfill my promise to the Filipinos),” he said about his campaign against drugs, crime and corruption.

Duterte likewise issued a stern warning to drug criminals to consider a career change or else risk death.

“It’s either maghanap kayo ng negosyo na bago o magkamatayan talaga dito pati ako. Mamili kayo (It’s either you find a business or we will all die. Choose),” he said.

“Hindi mahinto ‘yang patayan. Because sasabihin ko sa kanila, ‘yung mga big-time, I am after for your neck or necks. Walang compromise ‘yan (The killings won’t stop because I will tell the big-time criminals, ‘I am after your neck or necks. There will be no compromise),” he said.

The government has drawn intense criticism from human rights advocates for the recent killing of 17-year-old Kian Delos Santos in an anti-drug operation in Caloocan. Two more controversial teen deaths were reported, drawing outrage over the administration’s brutal anti-crime campaign.

Earlier, the President lashed out at Commission on Human Rights chair Chito Gasco for his supposed focus on the teen killings in the government’s war on drugs and crime.

He criticized Gascon for being a spokesman of the opposition and for his scrutiny of the anti-drug operations of the police.

He said the commission has been silent about the concerns raised by other victims of crimes, even in the conflict-torn Marawi City.

“Even in Marawi, there are hostages there by the terrorists, and they are raping the women every day. Wala naman kayong Human Rights narinig na, ‘Tama na,’ (We have not heard the Human Rights say, ‘Stop it),” he said.

“Sumakay kayo sa linya ng political enemy. ‘Yan ang problema (You joined the line of the political enemy. That’s the problem),” he said.


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