The Phillipines government has said it is winning the war on drugs and that the streets are now safer despite new disturbing images of dead bodies filling the country’s roads.
President Rodrigo Duterte has vowed to rid the country of drug sellers and in a six month terror campaign, as much as 6,000 people have been killed in police raids and at the hands of vigilantes.
Still depsite the number of dead rising the Filipino government said it is gaining ground in ridding the country of drugs, despite pledges by Duterte to do this within six months.
Government spokesman Ernesto Abella said the government had come to regard drugs not only as a national security but also a ‘public health issue’ which resulted in the building of rehabilitation facilities all over the country.
Also added: ‘Index crime rates have lowered significantly, telling us that majority of those crimes have been related to drugs.
‘So in a sense, it is a question of being able to see it with the right perspective. If you hear anecdotal reports of people, they actually say how much they deeply appreciate the fact that they can go home safer.’
‘It is not necessary that you have a declaration of martial law to have martial law,’ the bishop said.
Another prominent critic, Senator Francis Pangilinan, said Duterte’s shifting position on martial rule was not reassuring.
‘He said a few days ago that martial law was stupid and didn’t work, and yet now he says something else. His lack of clarity is a serious cause for concern.’
Duterte’s allies who control parliament have backed his proposal for it to convene as a ‘constituent assembly’ before he leaves office in 2022 to change the centralised government to a federal system.
A fiery populist politician, he was elected by a landslide last May largely on a vow to kill 100,000 criminals, has cultivated an image as a no-nonsense leader.
‘These sons of w****s are destroying our children. I warn you, don’t go into that, even if you’re a policeman, because I will really kill you,’ the president told an audience during a speech in the country’s capital, Manila.
He vowed one time during the election campaign that 100,000 people would perish, and so many bodies would be dumped in Manila Bay that the fish there would grow fat from feeding on them.
Duterte has also made reviving the death penalty in the mainly Catholic nation his top legislative priority as part of his war on crime.
Comparing his drugs war to the Holocaust:
‘Hitler massacred three million Jews. Now, there is three million drug addicts. I’d be happy to slaughter them. At least Germany had Hitler. The Philippines wouldn’t.’
Insulting President Obama after he criticised the violence in the Philippines – ‘You must be respectful. Do not just throw away questions and statements. Son of a w****, I will curse you in that forum. Instead of helping us, the first to criticize is this State Department, so you can go to hell, Mr Obama, you can go to hell.’
Reacting to an EU resolution condemning his drugs crackdown – ‘I say to them, f*** you. They’re taking the high ground to assuage their feelings of guilt. But who did I kill? Assuming it to be true, 1,700, who are they? Criminals. You call that genocide. Now the EU has the gall to condemn me. So I repeat it. F*** you.’
Criticising Pope Francis after his visit to the country caused heavy traffic in Manila – ‘We were affected by the traffic. It took us five hours. I asked why, they said it was closed. I asked who is coming. They answered, the Pope. I wanted to call him: “Pope, son of a w****, go home. Do not visit us again”.’
Pleading to rid the country of drugs during his election campaign – ‘Forget the laws on human rights. If I make it to the presidential palace, I will do just what I did as mayor. You drug pushers, hold-up men and do-nothings, you better go out. Because I’d kill you. I’ll dump all of you into Manila Bay, and fatten all the fish there.’
On admitting to killing a man by throwing him out of a helicopter – ‘I’ve done that, why won’t I do it again?’