Palace touts drug war as ‘successful,’ optimistic drug-free PH still possible
MANILA, Philippines — Malacañang on Wednesday touted President Rodrigo Duterte’s war against illegal drugs as “successful,” expressing confidence that the government can still end the drug problem before the Chief Executive’s term ends in 2022.
While Duterte had admitted he could not end the drug problem under his watch, presidential spokesperson Harry Roque underscored the progress made by the government since 2016, claiming 52 percent of barangays in the country have been cleared of illegal drugs.
Citing government data, Roque also said P49-billion worth of illegal drugs were intercepted while over 293,000 persons involved in the drug trade were arrested, more than 12,000 of whom were high-value targets.
“Lahat po iyan, I think, are proper measurements kung matagumpay nga po itong war on drugs, and I would say it has been successful,” Roque said in an online press briefing.
(All of that, I think, are proper measurements if the war on drugs was successful and I would say it has been successful.)
“Eh kampante naman po tayo na may isang taon pa so baka kakayanin naman pong gawin iyan. At pagkatapos po ng termino ng Presidente, maaaring ma-achieve po na lahat ng barangay ay maging drug-free,” he added.
(We are complacent that we still have a year, maybe we can still achieve that. By the end of the President’s term, we may have already achieved making all barangays drug-free.)
In his 2016 presidential campaign, Duterte promised to end illegal drugs in just three to six months, but later admitted he underestimated the problem.
“Sinabi naman po talaga ni Presidente na hindi niya akalain na mas malala ang problema pagdating sa droga noong siya po ay nangangampanya. Na-realize po niya early on his term na talagang mas malalim at mas malala ang problema kaya nga po mas tumagal iyong pagsupil sa ipinagbabawal na droga,” Roque said.
(The President admitted he did not expect that the drug problem was worse than he thought. He realized earlier on his term that the problem was deeper, that’s why it took longer to address the drug problem.)
The President has long been criticized for his bloody war on drugs, which brought him before the International Criminal Court for allegedly committing crimes against humanity.
Duterte himself, however, insisted his government will never cooperate with the ICC probe.
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