Palace: Duterte’s 7-8 million drug users estimate refers to ‘national figure’
MANILA, Philippines — Malacañang on Friday said that President Rodrigo Duterte’s estimate that around 7 to 8 million Filipinos were drug users refers to the “national figure” and is not confined with data from Metro Manila.
Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said this after Duterte, during the campaign rally of the PDP-Laban in Biñan, Laguna over the weekend, said there are now 7 to 8 million drug users in the country, which is double his estimate of between 3 and 4 million drug users in 2016.
“So ilan ‘yan sila? I’ll place it about 7 to 8 million now. Now tell me. There are 7 to 8 million Filipinos reduced to slaves to a drug called shabu,” Duterte said.
“Seven to 8 million lost souls. Inutil na. I-multiply mo ‘yan sa problema sa pamilya. Ang pag-aaral, pagkain,” he added.
Government agencies in the forefront of the administration’s war on drugs agreed on the President’s latest data, saying that as Chief Executive, Duterte has a “wealth of reliable sources.”
In defending Duterte’s claim, Panelo said the 7 to 8 million drug users estimate is the “national figure” that supposedly includes data from Visayas and Mindanao.
“What he is saying, iyong original number is limited to Manila. If you will include the entire Visayas and Mindanao, aabot ng 7 million – iyon ang sinasabi niya. Hindi nag-increase kung hindi iyon talaga ang bilang,” Panelo said in a Palace briefing.
“National figure iyon,” he added.
Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Oscar Albayalde earlier said they didn’t know where Duterte’s figure came from.
“We really do not know where the President gets the statistics, because he has, as we’ve said before, unlimited sources of information,” he said. /kga
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