MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday evening said the Philippines could expect about 20,000 or 30,000 more deaths in his administration's bloody war on drugs.
Duterte said the number of casualties will triple if he fails to get rid the country of the drug problem.
"I tell you, I will triple it. 'Pag hindi nasunod ang gusto ko, to get rid of my country (of the drug problem), you can expect 20,000 or 30,000 more (deaths)," Duterte said in Davao City after his return from an official visit to Japan.
Duterte, during his campaign for the presidency, said 100,000 people would die when he launches his war on crime.
The ABS-CBN Investigative and Research Group has monitored 2,210 killings in the war on drugs from May 10 to October 27, 2016.
Killed during police operations: 1,268 (57.4%)
Killed by unidentified assailants: 782 (35.4%)
Bodies found away from the crime scene: 160 (7.2%)
Seven people die on average daily due to police operations, while 13 on average die every day in all drug-related killings, according to the data.
While the crime rate has been dropping for several years, the murder rate has risen under the Duterte presidency, according to official Philippine National Police (PNP) data.
In the first three months of his administration, police recorded a total of 3,760 murders, compared with 2,359 in the same period last year -- a rise of 59 percent.
In what seemed to be a justification for the death of drug suspects, Duterte also said he is losing policemen to the war on drugs.
"There is a war going on. I am losing two to three policeman a day. It's a war," Duterte said.
However, Duterte's claim that two or three policemen were dying every day in his battle to rid the country of illegal drugs had been refuted by PNP data.
According to statistics from the PNP, from July 1, when Duterte launched his campaign against drugs, to October 12, when he spoke in Manila, 13 police officers were killed. That's an average of one every eight days.
Duterte bares new 'narco-list'
Duterte was in high spirits as he presented to journalist anew a "narco list" that included personalities allegedly connected to the illegal drug trade.
Duterte showed, without going into details, the list that was several inches thick.
"If this is not controlled, and I am no longer around, try to remember me because you read this. This will convert our country's narco-politics very thoroughly," he said.
Duterte also claimed anew that there were at least 3 million drug users in the Philippines.
"Whatever happened to your humanity? Di mo na lang inisip 'yang 3 million na yan, masisira lahat. You know, it will destroy my country, that's why I kill you," he said.
But according to a 2015 survey by the Office of the President's Dangerous Drugs Board (DDB), the main drug policy and research unit, the Philippines has fewer than half that many drug users. - with a report from Reuters