October 17, 2017, 11:51 am
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Giving up? Duterte says drugs can’t be licked in ‘one term’

PRESIDENT Duterte, whose campaign promise was to defeat the illegal drugs trade in three to six months, on Wednesday night said the drug problem could not be solved by a president in one term.

He said even powerful countries like the United States are besieged with the illegal drugs problem.

“Look, itong (this) shabu and drugs, et cetera, cannot be solved by one man, for a president, for one term. It has bogged nations. Hindi nga kaya ng Amerika, tayo pa? (How can we stop it if even America can’t?) America is under siege because of drugs. And they are far worse than us. Yes, of course, they do not admit it… until now, they’re fighting a useless war there that never ends,” he said addressing the “Philippine Development Forum: Sulong Pilipinas 2017.”

Duterte, during the campaign period for the May 2016 elections, promised to solve the drug problem within three months. After he assumed the presidency in June last year, he extended this to six months. Last January, he said the war against drugs would go on until the end of his term in 2022 and may even go beyond, reiterating he did not realize the gravity of the problem until he assumed the presidency. He also said the police force, which is at the frontline of his war against drugs, is “corrupt to the core.” 

Presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella yesterday clarified Duterte’s statement Wednesday night, saying it is “not an admission of failure.”

“It is an admission of the depth, the breadth and complexity of the problem especially considering the fact that he has also said that it was only after he became President that he realized the how widespread narco-politics had become,” he said.

“He’s simply just handling now the, taken the bull by the horns and saying, no it’s going to take a little bit more time especially in giving a whole of government approach,” he added.

Duterte said if it were up to him, he can reduce the number of people affected by drugs to about half because he is ready to kill them if they see them in the streets buying illegal drugs.

The President also said the drug problem in the US is aggravated by the fact that some of the supply comes from its neighbors. He also said American President Donald Trump is now almost mimicking his statements and threats, like “waste them all,” to get his message across.

Duterte reiterated his commitment to defeat illegal drugs. He also slammed anew former president Benigno Aquino III for belittling his government’s accomplishments in the anti-drugs war; Sen. Grace Poe for being critical of his use of expletives and foul language; and detained Sen. Leila de Lima who he said is not a “prisoner of conscience” as she is facing drug-related charges.

He dismissed calls to place De Lima on House arrest. He said he tried to get a glimpse of the senator in her detention cell in Camp Crame in Quezon City Wednesday afternoon after he attended an event of the Philippine National Police, but failed to do so.

Abella said there was no personal or actual meeting with the lawmaker.
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