MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte apologized for the killing of innocent people whom he called “collateral damage” in the government’s war on drugs.
“There were really killings unintended, I’m sorry there has to be casualty,” the President said in an interview with ABS-CBN on Thursday, December 29.
As of December 29, there have been at least 6,200 victims of the bloody crackdown on illegal drugs. Over 2,100 suspected drug personalities have been killed in police operations. As of December 15, at least 4,000 are victims of extrajudicial or vigilante-style killings. (READ: IN NUMBERS: The Philippines’ ‘war on drugs’)
But the President noted that crime has “considerably gone down” during his 6 months in office.
Duterte, however, denied again that there are state-sanctioned killings. He also said the drug war is not focused on the small drug users.
“I will not go for the small guys, kawawa lang yan (they are pitiful),” he said.
New Year message
Duterte, meanwhile, has a strong New Year message for the drug coddlers.
“Sa mga durugista, I’m sorry I have t appear strong to my people. Do not do that to my country. So sana kung ano gusto ninyo mawala na ang patayan, huminto na kayo,” he said.
(To the drug peddlers, I’m sorry I have to appear strong to my people. Do not do that to my country. So if you want the killings to stop, you should stop.)
Eliminating drugs and criminality within 3 to 6 months was Duterte’s main campaign promise.
But in a separate interview also on Thursday afternoon, Duterte said the 6-month deadline was a miscalculation because the drug problem has become complicated due to terrorist threats.
“We have terrorism which is being fed with drugs in Mindanao and Visayas. Ang problema pati dito sa Luzon (Luzon faces the same problem), so we are trying to figure it out,” Duterte said in an interview with CNN Philippines.
He also said that there are over 6,000 public officials involved in drugs, composed mostly of barangay captains, governors, and generals. – Rappler.com