Duterte vows no let up in war against drugs

MANILA: There will be no let up in government’s vicious anti-drug campaign until the last drug lord or pusher is put behind bars or killed, President Duterte has declared in his first State of the Nation Address (SONA).

In his SONA that lasted for an hour and 38 minutes, Duterte was also quoted as saying by Philippine Star that human rights should never be used to protect drug offenders.

“There will be no let-up in this campaign; double your efforts, triple them, if need be,” Duterte reportedly ordered law enforcers. “We will not stop until the last drug lord, the last financier and the last pusher have surrendered or been put behind bars or are below the ground if they so wish.”

He reportedly assured law enforcers of his full support in the discharge of their duties in fighting criminals, but warned them of severe consequences if they abuse their power.

“To our police officers and other officials, do your job and you will have the unwavering support of the Office of the President. I will be with you all the way. Abuse your authority and there will be hell to pay,” he was quoted as saying in the report.

Duterte, whose anti-drug campaign has been linked to a spate of summary executions and bloody police operations,reportedly said he is ready to stake his honor, his life and the presidency to ensure the success of his war on drugs.

“Human rights must work to uplift human dignity. But human rights cannot be used as a shield or an excuse to destroy the country – your country and my country,” he pointed out.

The former Davao City mayor, who had promised to stamp out or significantly reduce criminality within his first six months as President, stressed he is ready to kill anyone who destroys the youth and the country with illegal drugs.

He made clear his war against drug offenders would be “bloody” and “ruthless.”

Human rights groups have expressed alarm over the rising cases of extrajudicial killings under the Duterte administration, the report said.

Latest police data showed that 293 drug suspects were killed in law enforcement operations as of July 24. A total of 120,038 drug pushers and users, meanwhile, have surrendered to authorities.

While rallying law enforcers to go tough on criminals, especially drug lords, Duterte also ordered the National Police Commission (Napolcom) to hasten its investigation and adjudication of administrative cases against police officers involved in criminal and illegal activities.

“The DILG (Department of the Interior and Local Government) is also directed to strictly monitor how LGUs (local government units) perform their supervision functions of the police and those found not performing will be sanctioned, including the loss of police deputation from the Napolcom,” the President reportedly said.

“Let me repeat my warning to all: do not do drugs because you will be the solution to the drug crisis that has engulfed the nation,” he added.

Duterte was quoted as saying that he would form an inter-agency committee on illegal drugs that would “integrate efforts and strengthen the partnership of all stakeholders.”

“The reservists will be mobilized for information campaign against drug use and the dissemination of information regarding drug rehabilitation programs being offered by the government,” Duterte reportedly said.

“We will also prioritize the rehabilitation of drug users. We will increase the number of residential treatment and rehabilitation facilities in all regions of the country,” he added.

The military was also tasked to prepare camps for use as drug rehabilitation facilities as drug users have been surrendering by the hundreds each day since June.

He reiterated his concern over reports prepared by the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) that there were three million drug users in the country as of 2014.

As part of disciplining the youth, Duterte also cited the need for the strengthening of the Reserved Officers Training Course in colleges and universities. “We will also strengthen ROTC to instill love of country and good citizenship,” the President said.

“There can never be real, tangible and felt development without making our people feel secure, and it is our duty to uplift the people’s welfare,” Duterte was quoted as saying by Philippine Star.

Duterte also reportedly vowed to be just as determined in implementing the Reproductive Health (RH) Law, as well as other measures promoting the rights of women and indigenous people.

“The implementation of the responsible parenthood and reproductive health law must be put into full force and effect so that couples, especially the poor, will have the freedom of informed choice on the number and spacing of children that they can adequately care and provide for, eventually making them more productive members of the labor force,” he added.

Duterte has described the Paris climate deal as “stupid” and “absurd.”

He also reportedly argued that while the Philippines has backed the agreement, he would not honor it because he was not the one who signed it.

The deal, which aims to limit global warming “well below” two degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, was inked by more than 150 countries, including disaster-prone Philippines, last April, Philippine Star reported.

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