PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte on Friday, December 8, shrugged off being called “killer” amid his war on illegal drugs that police said has claimed about 4,000 lives.

During the 84th anniversary celebration of the Department of Labor and Employment, the President said he was not bothered by the accusation that he ordered the killings in line with his anti-narcotics drive.

He stressed that he needs to fulfill his campaign promise to eradicate the drug problem.

Duterte said he has no choice but to look for ways to get rid of the drug menace, even if it means jeopardizing the lives of people purportedly involved in the illicit narcotics trade.

“I don’t care if you call me killer. Killer? Really a killer. Who would not be a killer? So is it wrong to say now , ‘Do not destroy my country because I will destroy you?’ Destroying my country is destroying my countrymen. It’s people we’re talking of,” he said in a speech delivered at the Provincial Capitol Gymnasium in Malolos, Bulacan.

“What I just wanted is do not destroy the country because I will destroy you. I will kill you. Why would you get involved (in illegal drugs)? You really want to die. If you want to die, I will do it for you,” the Chief Executive added.

On Thursday, December 7, Duterte hinted that he might have been behind the deaths of suspected drug personalities in the country.

“I ordered their killing? Maybe yes,maybe no. Do not go into a guessing game for you might guess it right and I would be sorry for it,” said Duterte during the first Kapampangan Food Festival held in Pampanga.

A day after his pronouncement, Duterte maintained that he could not bear seeing the

Philippines in worse situation because of the rampant drugs trade.

He said he would continue to push for a relentless campaign against illegal drugs, despite appeals by human rights advocates to end the drug-related killings.

“Drugs, I will not accept it. I have been persistently criticized by human rights (groups). I’m tired of it. You’re just wasting your saliva,” Duterte said.

“There will be no drugs. I don’t care if I lose my job, the presidency, or if I get killed. I promised the Filipino people during the campaign and I will do it whether you like it or not. Sorry but I don’t care about your opinion about me,” he added. (SunStar Philippines)