Duterte on persisting illegal drug menace: ‘I will end my term fighting'

Arianne Merez, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 22 2019 05:49 PM

President Duterte gives his 4th State of the Nation Address at the House of Representatives on July 22, 2019. Screengrab RTVM

MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte vowed Monday that he will end his term fighting illegal drugs, shunning international criticism during his fourth State of the Nation Address.

"For it is not the eagle in the fight, but the fight in the eagle that matters. Believe me, I will end my term fighting," the President said.

“It has been three years since I took my oath of office and it pains me to say that we have not learned our lesson. The Illegal drug problem persists, corruption continues,” he added.

Duterte addressed a joint session of Congress after opinion polls showed that he continued to enjoy high public trust. His allies also swept the May midterm elections, giving him wider influence to push for priority bills in the legislature.

Police said 5,526 Filipinos have died in Duterte’s war on drugs from July 1, 2016 until June 30 of this year. 

Duterte's remarks on the war on drugs came 2 weeks after the United Nations Human Rights Council adopted an Iceland-backed resolution calling for a comprehensive report on Manila’s human rights situation, including extrajudicial killings related to Duterte's drug war.

The Philippines rejected the resolution, with Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. warning of "consequences" over the development. However, he said Manila would not leave the UN rights body or cut diplomatic ties with Iceland.