Sotto on Duterte’s election promise vs drugs: I knew it wasn’t possible
MANILA, Philippines—”I knew it was not possible.”
Senate President Vicente Sotto III made the declaration Tuesday when pressed for his initial reaction to President Rodrigo Duterte’s campaign promise to get rid of the Philippines’ illegal drug problem.
“I even said it in the campaign sorties nung nagrarally kami noon pa lang, sinasabi ko na kung tayo magcoconcentrate lang sa enforcement it will not be successful (I even said it in the campaign sorties, that if we will concentrate on enforcement, it will not be successful),” Sotto told reporters in a forum at the Manila Hotel.
During the 2016 campaign period for the presidential elections, Duterte promised to solve the drug menace in the country within the first three to six months of his administration.
Since assuming the presidency in 2016, Duterte has made the crackdown on illegal drugs the focal point of his administration, continuing the campaign he started as Davao City mayor.
Local and international human rights watchdogs have criticized the relentless war on drugs and cited alleged violations of human rights, which the government vehemently denied.
In the same briefing, Sotto also said the Philippines should aspire to become a “drug-resistant” country as becoming “drug-free” is close to impossible now, considering the severity of the drug menace.
The Senate leader added that the Philippines should adopt a “demand-reduction strategy” to compliment the crackdown against drug pushers.
“We have to look at the possibility of being a drug-resistant country instead of (being) a drug-free. That drug-free (aspiration) at this point is almost impossible because we have not been successful in the other half of the fight which is the demand-reduction strategy,” Sotto said.
“The supply reduction program is being enforced by the government but as I’ve said if there’s a demand even if you kill all the pushers in the country today, there will be new pushers tomorrow. They will be replaced by another pusher because there is a demand so there must be a holistic approach,” he added. /gsg, je
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