(UPDATED) -- With the unprecedented number of individuals linked to illegal drugs, President Rodrigo Duterte said on Sunday, September 18, he needs an additional six months extension in his wage against drug menace in the country.
"Just give me a little extension of maybe another six months," Duterte said in his remarks during the presentation of the Norwegian kidnap victim Kjartan Sekkingstad at Matina Enclaves, Davao City.
He admitted that he could not put an end to the long-running problem, which are crime and illegal drugs within the time he promised because he did not imagine the extent.
During the campaign period, Duterte guaranteed to get rid of the illegal drugs in just 3 to 6 months, which had earned doubts from his opponents, saying that it is impossible to end the drug problem in a short span of time.
Nonetheless, Duterte was confident that he could.
But, on Sunday, during the presentation of the Norwegian kidnap victim, he said he has not foreseen the severity of the illegal drugs situation in the country.
“That self-imposed time of three to six months, well, I did not realize how severe and how serious the problem of drug menace in this Republic until I became President,” he said.
Duterte attributed his request with the different problems that the country has facing nowadays.
“We are rocked with so many problems, kidnapping in the south, terrorism, drugs, which is really pulling us down. I can say that we would need time to put everything in order,” he added.
In his statement, Duterte said he didn’t expect the number of individuals who surrendered during the campaign against drugs.
“I never have that idea of hundreds of thousands of people in the drug business. And what makes it worst is, they are now operated by people in government, especially those elected officials,” Duterte said, adding no matter how he wanted to kill, he cannot.
The president said he already has the new validated list of alleged drug personalities coming from the police and military.
He described the reports as three inches “thick” and composed of prominent elected politicians and barangay captains.
“And just like other places, the barangay captains connive or cooperate to extend assistance to terrorist and drugs,” Duterte said.
Since Duterte assumed his office, based on the data released by Philippine National Police there were 715,393 total numbers of surrenderees in Project Tokhang, where 53,091 were pushers and 662,302 were users.
Since July, police reports showed a total of 3,225 were killed in connection to the bloody war against drugs both from legitimate police operations and allegedly “extrajudicial killings.”