NUEVA ECIJA -- President Rodrigo Duterte slammed anew on Wednesday the Catholic Church for opposing his deadly war on drugs.

In a speech delivered at the 20th anniversary of Premiere Medical Center in Cabanatuan City, the President hit the church for criticizing the rising death toll of drug personalities since he assumed the presidency in July 2016.

Duterte then challenged the priests to "use shabu," in order for them to realize the seriousness of drug menace in the country.

"The church really doesn't understand. They know [the drug problem], they know that it is worst, and yet, they said that extrajudicial killing [is not good]," the President said.

"So other priests should use shabu so they would understand [that the drug problem worsens]. I recommend one or two of the bishops [to use shabu]," he added.

In a report by Agence France Presse (AFP), Jerome Secillano, public affairs chief for the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines, said that the Duterte administration’s war on drugs “is not any more in accord with the legal processes.”

Secillano also said that the “moral norms are being violated and so now is the time for the Church to speak up.”

“The Church right now is asserting its influence, that’s why in the coming months, the Church will be at the forefront in leading against extrajudicial killings,” Secillano told AFP.

Duterte said he could not allow any Filipinos to be affected by the proliferation of illegal drug trade.

He reiterated that he the drug-related killings would not stop until the administration is able to curb narcotics trade.

“What is really raging in my heart is that you (drug personalities) are making so many slaves, millions of them, in my country. I could not accept that. Honestly, I could not allow that. They are slaves to a chemical (shabu) and making the people very rich,” he said.

“Drug problem… The killing? It will not stop, believe me… Now, the bishops, the cardinals want to stop killing? You don’t want scuffle? All they (drug dependents) have to drop the shabu,” he added.

The President also encouraged “wise” men from the Church to join a special commission tasked to address the drug problem, if they think they could resolve the drug situation.

“Now, anybody who would just want to take over and solve the problem, I can place you in a special commission. Do it for us because I can[not do it alone], I would run out of bullets,” he said. (SunStar Philippines)