MANILA – President Rodrigo Duterte on Saturday took his fierce campaign against illegal drugs regional as he called on leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to be resolute in ending the “scourge.”
Duterte opened the 30th ASEAN Summit with a call on the bloc’s leaders to work together to end the illegal drug trade, a transnational concern.
“We must be resolute in realizing a drug-free ASEAN… I have seen how drugs have ended hopes, dreams, future and even lives of countless people, especially the youth,” said the President.
“The illegal drug trade apparatus is massive, but it is not impregnable. With political will and cooperation, it can be dismantled, it can be destroyed before it destroys our societies,” he told his fellow leaders.
In bringing his anti-drug crusade before foreign bloc, Duterte showed he was unfazed by fierce international criticism of his drug war, which has seen thousands dead without trial.
Earlier this week, Duterte was tagged as a mass murderer before the International Criminal Court in a complaint filed by Jude Sabio, lawyer of confessed hitman Edgar Matobato.
Matobato had tagged the President in extrajudicial killings during his time as Davao City Mayor.
He is the first Philippine President to face a complaint before the international tribunal.
Data compiled by the ABS-CBN Investigative and Research Group showed that an average of nine drug suspects are killed in the anti-drug war daily, five of whom are slain in police operations.