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Duterte admits he was wrong to say he’d end drugs in 3–6 months

President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday admitted that he was wrong to claim he could end the country’s drugs problem within three to six months of taking office.

“When I became president ganito sinasabi ko [this is what I would always say]: I can clean it in six months. And after that I realized nagkamali talaga ako [I made a mistake],” he said during the inauguration of the Cebu-Cordova Link Expressway (CCLEX) Project in Cordova, Cebu.

“Maybe it was campaign time; payabangan naman ng kampanya. Pagdating ko sa Manila, dala-dala ko yung chief of police ko yan si Bato [Dela Rosa]...nung binuksan na yung records.. .six generals of the PNP [Philippine National Police] were playing with drugs, sabi ko paano tayo mabubuhay nito?” he added.

(Maybe it was campaign time, we were all boasting during the campaign. When I arrived in Manila, I brought my chief of police with me. When the records were opened...six generals of the PNP were playing with drugs. I said, how can we survive this?)

As a presidential candidate in 2016, Duterte vowed to eradicate the problem of illegal drugs and corruption within three to six months of taking office.

In September 2016, three months after being sworn in, he asked for a six-month extension on his self-imposed deadline.

Since then, Duterte has said that the problem is so endemic that the fight would go on until the end of his term on June 30, 2022.

Duterte also encouraged the New People's Army (NPA) to surrender.

“Kayong mga NPA, kayong mga durugista, you want peace? Magtrabaho ka lang then drop the gun. Kayong  mga durugista drop the drugs, itapon mo yan at wala ka talagang problema sa akin,” he said.

(You NPAs and drug users want peace? Just work, and then drop the gun. You drug users, drop the drugs, throw that away and you will not have a problem with me.)

“Pinapatay mo talaga, sisirain mo yung mga pamilya, maghihiwalay [You're killing them, destroying families, separating them]. It breaks the family, it destroys everything,” he added.

The Duterte administration has been marked by the deaths of thousands of mainly poor Filipinos in his war on drugs, for which he said he will never apologize.

The International Criminal Court in November last year suspended its investigation into Duterte's bloody anti-drugs campaign after the Philippines asked the tribunal to defer its probe, saying that the national government is investigating the deaths.

Cebu-Cordova Link Expressway

The CCLEX is an 8.5-kilometer toll bridge that will link Cebu City through the South Road Properties to the municipality of Cordova on Mactan Island. It has a design speed of 80 kilometers per hour and a navigational clearance or height of 51 meters to allow large vessels to pass underneath.

Duterte congratulated the Metro Pacific Tollways Corporation, the Cebu-Cordova Link Expressway Corporation, and the local governments of Cebu City and Cordova on its completion despite the challenges brought by COVID-19 pandemic and the recent onslaught of Typhoon Odette.

“Your support for this administration’s goal to boost regional development providing a comfortable life for every Filipino and realize our vision of a strongly connected nation is truly commendable,” he said.

“The state-of-the-art infrastructure will provide a solution to the perennial traffic issues of Metro Cebu. I'm hoping that this shall likewise result in an increase in economic productivity in the province and the rest of the Visayas through safer, faster, and more convenient means of transporting goods as well as people,” he added.

Duterte also said that it was “opportune and relevant” to inaugurate the CCLEX on the same day as the 501st anniversary celebration of Lapulapu's victory in Mactan, which he also attended. — BM, GMA News