PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday, December 6, asked for another year to put an end to the rampant narcotics trade in the country.
During the mass oath-taking of new presidential appointees from the private and public sectors, the President maintained that his administration would continue to wage a relentless war on illegal drugs, despite widespread criticisms over the alleged extrajudicial killings of suspected drug traffickers.
"On the issue of drugs, it will not stop. It's a non-issue to me and I will not answer it anymore, except to say that my oath of office demands that I protect the Filipino people and that the Republic of the Philippines is safe. That is the long and short of it," Duterte said in his speech.
"I don't care about the story of extrajudicial killing. It will happen. It cannot happen. I don't care. On drugs, I hope to finish the problem, maybe just another year," he added.
Duterte's statement came a day after he signed Memorandum Order 17 that directs the Philippine National Police (PNP) to provide "active support" to the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA), which remains the lead agency tasked to address the drug menace.
Memorandum Order 17 overrules the October 10 memorandum inked by Duterte, which instructed the PNP to merely maintain police visibility while the 2,000-strong PDEA conducts its nationwide operations against illicit narcotics trade.
In his explanation in Memorandum Order 17, the Chief Executive explained that he ordered the participation of the PNP anew, following the "notable resurgence in illegal drug activities and crimes committed" since he solely designated the PDEA to handle the drug problem.
Duterte's campaign promise was to end the rampant trade of illegal drugs in three to six months in office. But when he failed to meet his self-imposed deadline, he sought a six-month extension to finish the drug problem.
Speaking before the newly-appointed officials from the government and private sector, the President said the police force needs to once again participate in the drug war, in a bid to curb the narcotics sale in the country.
"The police will return. They will return," Duterte said. "My request is very simple. it is very doable to everybody, with no effort at all. When I was mayor and then I became president, I only have one message for everybody: Do not destroy my country because I will kill you. Do not destroy the young Filipinos. They are our only assets."
Duterte also brushed aside the objections of the human rights groups.
He also reiterated that he could provide a satellite office for international rights organizations who seek intervention in his anti-drugs war.
"If you will make the Filipino stupid, that's not right. So I said to human rights, you're stupid. I dont give a s***. It's survival to me, not only (to) me (but also to) the Filipino. If you want to stick with your g****** s*** principle, (I don't care)," the Chief Executive said.
"And the Human Rights Commission can come here. International (human rights group can go here) and I can provide them an office. I will provide a building for them. They can join. My stance is I have to end this (drug problem)," he added. (SunStar Philippines)