MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday said it might take him another year to solve the country’s drug problem.
“I hope to finish the problem maybe give me just another year,” Duterte said in his speech during the mass oath-taking of presidential appointees in Malacañang.
Duterte, during his campaign for presidency, had promised to solve the drug problem in the country within the first 6 months of his term. He has since asked for an extension, saying he did not realize the extent of the problem until he assumed power.
Duterte said he would continue to ignore criticism from human rights groups over his war on drugs, telling them in jest to buy Valium.
“I will not answer it anymore except to say that my oath of office demands that I protect the Filipino people and that the Republic of the Philippines is safe. That is the long and short of it,” he said.
“Itong mga human rights bilihan mo lang ng medisina pangkalma, Valium. Painumin mo lang, patulugin mo lang ‘yang mga y*** na ‘yan.”
The government has many times defended Duterte’s war on drugs, where over 3,800 suspects have been killed in presumed-legitimate operations since the Duterte administration took over in mid-2016, according to official data.
Officials said slain drug suspects had put up violent resistance. The administration has also repeatedly asserted that it does not sanction summary killings nor condone police abuses.
Human rights groups, however, estimate the drug war death toll at more than 10,000, a figure the government says is overblown.