MANILA - Poor Filipinos are vulnerable in the government's anti-narcotics drive, in which President Rodrigo Duterte admitted but with reason.
"Remember, shabu is the commodity of the poor. Mao nang daghang pobre namatay kay walay kataguan," he said in a speech Wednesday in Cagayan De Oro City.
(Remember, shabu is the commodity of the poor. That's why many poor Filipinos died because they have nowhere to hide.)
"Ang mga dato cocaine. Alam ninyo 'yan. Naay mga yate, dagko'g bay. Unlike Tondo, mo-hit ka og shabu, masimhotan ka man gyud," he added.
(The rich use cocaine. You know that. They have yachts and live in big houses. Unlike in Tondo, when you use shabu, you'll get noticed.)
Some 5,000 drug suspects have been killed in police anti-drug operations, according to official government figures, but human rights groups and critics of the drug war say this figure is understated.
Based on a research by some of the country's top schools that was released on June 2018, most victims held jobs such as tricycle, pedicab, or jeepney drivers, barkers, construction workers, vendors, farmers, or garbage collectors. Some were also reported unemployed.
When Duterte was elected into office, he had said there were 3 million drug addicts in the country, citing estimates from Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA).
In the last 3 years of his term, he vows to rid the country of narcotics, which he said has now 7 million Filipinos hooked on illegal drugs.
Duterte was in CDO Wednesday to administer the oath of office of the city's newly elected officials.