Following the death of 32 drug suspects in bloody Bulacan raids, President Rodrigo Duterte said on Thursday that the Philippines has turned into a ‘narcotic country’.
“Now, magtanong kayo, ang Pilipinas. [You ask me, the Philippines] are we or are we not a narcotic country? Yes, we are,” Duterte said in a speech addressed to policemen in Ozamiz City.
The president’s comment came after 32 drug personalities were killed and more than a hundred rounded up by authorities in similar police operations in Bulacan on Tuesday.
Duterte also admitted that he underestimated the drug problem in the country where he promised to eradicate illegal drugs in just three to six months, as he only benchmarked his approach to that of Davao City.
“Sabi ko, tama ‘yan silang mga kritiko. ‘Eh sabi mo, nung nag-Presidente ka, three to six months. Hindi ko alam pagpasok ko, eh Davao lang kasi ‘ko [I said, the critics are right. You said when you became the President, it would only take three to six months. I did not know this when I stepped in, I’m just from Davao],” Duterte said.
Duterte vowed his continued support to the military and the police in the drug war, citing the cases of the late Ozamiz Mayor Reynaldo Parojinog Sr. and Albuera, Leyte Mayor Rolando Espinosa as examples.
“Look what happens if drug is allowed to flourish in the place. There is narco-politics. May election ba dito na malinis? [Was there any clean election here?],” the president added.