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Rody wants 6 more months for war on drugs, crime

President Rodrigo Duterte, who vowed to end drugs and curb crime in the first six months of his presidency, said he had not expected the drug problem to be so serious. Now he wants more time “to put everything in order.” STAR/File photo

Saying he was shocked by the extent of the drug problem, President Duterte yesterday asked for six more months to put an end to the drug menace and criminality, setting aside a promise that helped him achieve an overwhelming victory in the 2016 polls.

Duterte, who vowed to end drugs and curb crime in the first six months of his presidency, said he had not expected the drug problem to be so serious. Now he wants more time “to put everything in order.”

“Just give me a little extension of maybe another six months. I did not have any idea that there were hundreds of thousands already in the drug business,” Duterte said in a press conference in Davao City last night.

“What makes it worse,” he said, is that “people in government” are now running the drug trafficking operations.

Duterte, whose tough stance on crime enabled him to win by a landslide with 16.6 million votes, said his administration is trying its best to address kidnapping, terrorism, drugs and other security concerns.

“That self-imposed time of three to six months, I did not realize how severe the problem of the drug menace is in this republic until I became president,” Duterte said.

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He said his war on drugs had opened a can of worms.

“Nobody would believe there are about 700,000 new guys in the drug business who surrendered to the police and military,” he said.

Duterte has promised to bare a new list of about 1,000 government employees involved in illegal drugs.

“The problem is I can’t kill them all,” the President said. “Even if I wanted to, I can’t kill them all because the last report would be this thick.”

Duterte said prominent on the list are barangay or village chiefs who are conniving with or extending assistance to terrorists and drug lords.

The prevalence of village officials with connections to illegal drugs, he added, is the main reason why he is in favor of postponing the barangay polls.

“We have narco-politicians in the lowest government unit, which is the barangay. That will be the start of maybe our perdition and agony,” the President said.

“I receive reports from the military, police and the validation of PDEA (Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency). The list is there before me about two months ago but I ordered revalidation just to make sure,” he added.

Duterte said policemen are no longer allowed to serve as bodyguards of barangay captains to “defang” village officials who are into illegal drugs.

“If you’re afraid of being killed in rural areas with NPAs (New People’s Army), don’t run for public office. Find another occupation,” he said.

Officials said there are about 3.7 million drug addicts in the Philippines, a figure that they said reflects a problem of “epidemic proportions.”
To address the problem, Duterte declared a brutal war against drugs, a campaign that has so far claimed the lives of about 3,000 suspected drug offenders.

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