President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday called for "harsher" approach to curbing the drug menace, saying he would not allow the country to end up a "failed state."
Duterte reiterated his pledge to continue the war on illegal drugs until end of his term in 2022 even as he conceded that "nobody can solve it in due time."
"I am declaring war. I am not declaring a punitive police action. It cannot help and it would not help. So early on I decided but I think I’d be more, well, I said harsher in the days to come," Duterte said in a speech in Malacañang.
"I will not allow my country to be destroyed by drugs. I will not allow my country to end up a failed state because of drugs. And I am declaring war and I said I will kill anybody who stands in the way," he said.
Duterte later told reporters that his order was to "destroy the enemy" and that the drug war "can take many forms."
Asked if the drug war would be "bloodier," Duterte said: "I think so."
Roundly condemned by local and international human rights groups due to its alleged heavy-handed approach, the war on drugs has killed more than 5,000 drug suspects, based on government data, since Duterte took office in 2016.
Duterte, who is facing two communications before the International Criminal Court over the drug war, had repeatedly said he could not be indicted for extrajudicial killings, saying there is no such crime under the the country’s Revised Penal Code.
He also said authorities can only use deadly force if their lives are in danger when drug suspects resist arrest. —NB, GMA News