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Duterte warns foreign drug syndicates

LAUR, NUEVA ECIJA—President Duterte on Wednesday said the country was fighting a “global war” on drugs as he warned anew about the entry into the Philippines of the Mexican drug cartel Sinaloa and its ties with Asia’s equally notorious Bamboo Triad.

“There seems to be a blossoming of criminals globally and we are fighting a global war against drugs,” Duterte said in a speech after he led the inauguration of Moscati Meadows, a drug rehabilitation center at Barangay San Juan in this town.

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The President made the remarks hours after a New York court convicted Mexico’s most notorious drug lord, Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, of running an industrial-scale smuggling operation under the Sinaloa drug cartel into the United States.

Duterte made it clear he would strike hard against foreign drug smugglers operating in the country.

‘I can do better’

“Just like terrorism, I’ll return the courtesy,” he said, adding that foreign drug syndicates should realize that “even if you are on the other side, you do not monopolize evil in your mind.”

“We have ours and I can do better than what you can, 100 times over,” he said.

The President lamented that illegal drugs were being produced everywhere and imported into the country “by air, by [sea] and [by] land.”

Duterte said foreign drug syndicates could try to do business in the Philippines but warned them that “we are prepared, my soldiers and police.”

“We are ready to meet the challenge. And I told [the police and military] let’s finish [them off] while I’m [still President],” he said.

“So once again, I give you my solemn promise. I will not allow anybody or even [if] they all come here… I will really kill you,” the President said.

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Six-month program

Duterte also thanked those behind the new drug rehabilitation in the province for helping to rehabilitate drug addicts through a six-month program, saying this was “truly in line with this administration’s efforts to combat the drug menace.”

In Manila, Malacañang hailed as a “positive development” the conviction by a Makati Regional Trial Court on Wednesday of Horacio Hernandez Herrera, a suspected member of the Mexican Sinaloa syndicate.

Hernandez was sentenced to life imprisonment after the court found him guilty of selling P12 million worth of cocaine.

“This administration believes that any circumstance that diminishes the tentacles of the illegal drug industry is helpful to our country’s war against prohibited narcotics,” presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo said in a statement on Wednesday night.

Panelo said the President had repeatedly warned about the entry of the Sinaloa cartel in the Philippines, even though the political opposition and his critics on the war on drugs did not believe him.

“The conviction of Mr. Hernandez therefore serves as a repudiation of the sentiments of these detractors,” he said.

Government victory

Panelo said the conviction of Hernandez was a “victory” for the Duterte administration and also served as a warning to international drug syndicates that it was “resolute in destroying whoever attempts to poison our nation through the importation of illicit drugs.”

“We will never allow our country to be flooded with prohibited drugs by the merchants of death and destruction. The President and this administration will not rest until the last drug apparatus is destroyed and the last drug pusher is sent to jail,” he said.

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TAGS: drug syndicates, Mexican drug cartel, Moscati Meadows, President Duterte, Sinaloa, war on drugs
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