GENERAL SANTOS CITY – President Rodrigo R. Duterte on Thursday called for respect and fair treatment from the United Nations (UN), other states and international bodies as he reiterated the government’s resolve to rid the country of illegal drugs.
Speaking before officers and personnel of the Police Regional Office-Region 12 here, the President urged the UN, United States, European Union and international human rights groups to treat him fairly and he will respond accordingly.
Duterte said their rapporteurs can come to the country and see for themselves what’s really happening on the ground.
“If you just treat me fairly, magpapakumbaba ako (I will humble myself),” the President said.
The UN, US, EU and various international human rights groups have criticized the Duterte administration’s ongoing war against illegal drugs and blamed it over the alleged extrajudicial killings of drug suspects which victims have reportedly reached more than 3,000.
But President Duterte said it appears that most of the supposed extra-judicial killings involved “drug gangs.”
He said a number of the recorded killings, especially those in Metro Manila, have imprints of gang rivalries.
“They’re killing each other and wants to be ahead of everyone,” he said.
The President said the human rights rapporteurs should consider these facts and look at the situation objectively.
“Why do you attribute all the killings in Metro Manila to the police and the Army when as a matter of fact, there are gangs involved that include police generals?” he said.
“Yung unang birada binabalot daw ng plaster ang mga patay. Sabi ko that is not the job of the police to make mummies. That’s only in Egypt,” he added.
President Duterte acknowledged that the ongoing war against illegal drugs has resulted in numerous deaths but he noted that they were all in legitimate police operations.
In parts of Mindanao, he said there were drug suspects killed by military personnel undertaking police actions.
The President reiterated that the government will continue its relentless campaign against illegal drugs and criminality despite the difficulties and criticisms it is facing.
He said the country’s illegal drug problem has “gone beyond our imagination,” with an estimated 4 million Filipinos who are drug addicts.
President Duterte directed police personnel here to step up their anti-drug and anti-criminality campaigns and at the same time reminded them to follow the standards in undertaking police operations.
“Go out and hunt down the criminals, arrest them, and if they offer a violent resistance, patayin mo sila. Yan ang order ko sa iyo, that has not changed,” he added.
During his visit, the President presided over a command conference of PRO-12 officials and several local government leaders in the area.
In attendance were City Mayor Ronnel Rivera, Sultan Kudarat Gov. Sultan Pax Mangudadatu and Sarangani Gov. Steve Chiongbian Solon.
The President inspected over a hundred firearms that were recovered in various police operations in the area in the last two months and conferred merit awards to top performing police officials and personnel in connection with the campaign against illegal drugs.