11 July 2024
President Rodrigo Duterte has vowed to pursue a “relentless” and “chilling” war against illegal drugs as he laid out plans for the second half of his six-year term in his third State of the Nation Address on Monday, the Manila Times reported.
It said Duterte declared in his 48-minute expletive-free speech that his two-year-old war against drugs was far from over.
“Let me begin by putting it bluntly: the war against illegal drugs is far from over. Where before, the war resulted in the seizure of illegal drugs worth millions of pesos, today, they run into billions in peso value. I can only shudder at the harm that those drugs could have had they reached the streets of every province, city, municipality, barangay and community throughout the country,” said Duterte.
“This is why the illegal drugs war will not be sidelined. Instead, it will be as relentless and chilling, if you will, as on the day it began,” he said.
The president then slammed human rights activists who have criticized the thousands of deaths caused by the anti-drug war, calling their efforts misdirected.
The bloody anti-drug campaign has resulted to the deaths of 4,354 people from July 1, 2016 to June 30, 2018. It also led to the arrest of 147,802 drug suspects, including 229 elected officials, 52 uniformed personnel and 245 government employees.
Duterte’s speech also on red tape and Bangsamoro law, constitutional amendments, sea dispute with China, land use and mining.
Minority senators however described Duterte’s third SONA as a defeatist speech filled with promises already made during the 2016 election campaign.
“The promise to continue relentlessly on the war on drugs, as has been admitted, chilling and also senseless because the daily killings have not solved and will not solve the drug problem,” said Senator Francis Pangilinan, president of the Liberal party.
Another opposition senator, Antonio Trillanes said Duterte’s address was an admission of non-achievement.