MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday said his war on drugs will be “harsher in the days to come,” emphasizing that death will soon come to illegal drug peddlers.
“I think I would be more well, I said, harsher in the days to come… I’m putting notice to everybody, I will not allow my country to be destroyed by drugs. I don’t want my country to end up as a failed state,” Duterte said in a speech in Malacañang following his signing of the Universal Healthcare Act.
“For those guys who keep on with their business of importing, be they Mexicans, Chinese or Filipino, if you continue to feed our children with drugs, there’s no way, talagang maabutan ko kayo at papatayin ko kayo [I will catch up and kill you.”
This came after the Philippine National Police said it was beefing up maritime security, following the discovery of some P491 million worth of cocaine in six areas located in the eastern seaboard of the country this month.
The President said he was ready to “accept the consequences” of his war on drugs.
“I’m ready for hell, but I will never, never to preside over a nation that will deteriorate in my presence,” he said.
Asked by reporters whether a harsher drug war means a “bloodier” one, Duterte said, “I think so.”
“Basta sinabi ko I’m declaring war and I’m raising it to the level of national security. That’s game of self preservation. Either I destroy you or you destroy me,” he said. “Since I am the President, it behooves upon me to see to it that my country is safe.”
Over 5,000 people have been killed in police anti-drug operations since the President took office, but human rights groups say this figure is severely understated.
The President has shrugged off criticism of his war on drugs here and abroad. He has also belittled the move of the International Criminal Court to proceed with the examination of his alleged crimes which may fall within the court’s jurisdiction.