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Duterte: I will have to invade a country to kill ‘big fish’ in drugs

By: - Bureau Chief / @inqmindanao
/ 07:11 PM July 22, 2016
President Rodrigo Duterte speaks as he inspected Friday afternoon the 5MW Biomass Power Plant of the Green Earth Energource Corporation in Buluan town in Maguindanao. (Photo by Jeoffrey Maitem/INQUIRER MINDANAO)

President Rodrigo Duterte speaks as he inspected Friday afternoon the 5MW Biomass Power Plant of the Green Earth Energource Corporation in Buluan town in Maguindanao. (Photo by Jeoffrey Maitem/INQUIRER MINDANAO)

BULUAN, Maguindanao – President Rodrigo Duterte defended his government’s anti-drugs campaign, on Friday, amid criticisms that it appeared to be only targeting the poor.

In a speech during his visit here, Mr. Duterte admitted that it has indeed been difficult for authorities to catch the “big fish.”

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“Where will I get the big fish? These people (critics) keep on writing (that only the small-time drug dealers are being arrested). They think they know a lot. They keep asking why only the small fish are being arrested,” he said.

“Hey, I have to invade a country to arrest the drug lords,” the President said after inspecting a biomass power plant here.

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But the President refused to name which country he was referring to.

“I will not name the country, but obviously, it is known to you,” Mr. Duterte said.

The President even dared his detractors who have been asking “where’s the big fish?” to come with him and “I will let you inside the intelligence room and see for yourself.”

“That’s the problem with Filipinos, many pretend to be bright when they are not,” the President said.

Mr. Duterte said the Philippine Drugs Enforcement Agency (PDEA) placed at two million the number of drug users and pushers in the country two years ago. He said the present estimate has been pegged at 3.7 million.

“You see the number of those who surrendered. You see it everyday on TV. And they say that crime has gone down, that’s natural. Why wouldn’t it go down when everything has been contaminated (by drugs),” he said.

The President even described the selling of drugs here as “Chinese Style,” as peddlers have been selling drugs retail, making drugs more affordable.

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Mr. Duterte also said drug syndicates operating outside the country have been using technology, with a “big map of the Philippines to locate where to drop the drugs.”

He said those being arrested in the country were just the “lieutenants.”

“When we say big boss, general, they are not here,” Mr. Duterte said.

The President was here to inspect the 4.5-megawatt biomass power plant that was scheduled to commercially operate by the end of the year.

Friday’s visit here was the second made by the President to a province in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) since winning the elections. On Thursday, Mr. Duterte was in Basilan, where he held a command conference with military officials.

The biomass power plant here is the first in the country. It will be using by-products from palm oil, and will be supplying power through the local power distributor.

To produce power, the plant’s steam boiler will burn oil palm by-products like palm fruit fiber, nut shell, empty fruit bunches, the methane gas produced by palm oil mill effluent and low quality crude palm oil.
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