MANILA (UPDATED)—President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday suggested that illegal narcotics and incidents related to it have been proliferating in two cities in Southern Tagalog.
“Lucena and Batangas right now appear to be with a red flag on the map sa drug scene,” Duterte said during a campaign sortie of the PDP-Laban party in Batangas City.
The President added that he went to Batangas to warn people there of the situation.
"Talagang pupunta ako dito, naka-red flag kayo. Lucena, pati Batangas marami. Kaya bukas, mag-harvest na naman tayo," he said.
(I came here, because red flags were raised. There are many in Lucena and Batangas, which is why we will harvest a lot tomorrow.)
Duterte on Tuesday night also said there are big-time drug personalities in Baguio City, Cagayan, and Mountain Province, without going into specifics.
“Dito sa Cagayan, may mga anim pa dito na malaki tapos tutumbahin ko talaga ‘yan. Naglalaro ’yan Baguio, Mountain Province. P***** i** kayo. Akala ninyo mas bright kayo sa gobyerno,” he said in a speech in Tuguegarao City.
Since assuming the presidency in 2016, Duterte has launched an intensive crackdown on illegal drugs.
More than 5,000 people have been killed in police anti-drug operations since the President took office, authorities have said, but human rights groups say this figure is severely understated.
Duterte, who won on a promise to rid the country of illegal drugs, has shrugged off criticism — both here and abroad — of his violent anti-narcotics drive.
Last week, he vowed to rid the country of illegal drugs before his term ends.