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MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte said he has fufilled all his promises to the Filipino people and that he would spend his remaining years in office keeping the country on its current trajectory.
“Saan kami nagkulang? I mean ibinigay ko na lahat. Wala na akong sabi na promises unkept – wala na (Where are we lacking? I mean, I have given everything. I don’t have what you call unkept promises – none.),” he said during a gathering of Japan-based Filipinos in Tokyo on Thursday night, May 30.
“Ano pa bang ano ko? Ang akin is just to maintain. Ngayon, I will make the Philippines peaceful para pumasok – karamihan ngayon kausap natin Japanese businessmen and gusto nilang magpasok,” he continued.
(What else do I need to do? On my part, it is just to maintain. Now, I will make the Philippines peaceful so that they will come in – many of the ones we are speaking to are Japanese businessmen, and they want to come in.)
But he made no mention of unfulfilled promises like the return of the billions in coco levy funds to coconut farmers or a law on the eradication of contractualization that would please workers. He had also yet to assert the Hague ruling amid military reports of swarming of Chinese ships in Pag-asa Island and the continued Chinese buildup in artificial islands in the West Philippine Sea.
Back in February, the President also claimed he had fulfilled all his promises, save for easing EDSA traffic.
‘Abating’ drug problem?
Duterte told the FIlipino community in Tokyo that the Philippine drug problem was abating, even as he admitted that illegal drug shipments still managed to enter the country.
“Ang droga pababa na pero mayroon pa ring nagtatapon (The drug [problem] is abating but there are some still being dumped here),” the President said.
The Chief Executive made the claim a day after Senator Panfilo Lacson said that the vaunted anti-corruption and anti-drug campaigns of the Duterte administration had so far failed to make a dent on bribery at the Bureau of Customs related to drug smuggling. (READ: Lacson: Customs ‘still one hell of a mess’ despite Duterte’s anti-corruption drive)
Lacson had also said in his privilege speech on Wednesday, May 29, that blacklisted Chinese Zhijian Xu or Jacky Co, who was behind the smuggling of P1.8 billion worth of shabu, escaped Philippine authorities. Lacson had described Co as a wanted person in China, and also reportedly involved in kidnap-for-ransom activities in the Philippines.
In February, Duterte himsel claimed that the number of drug users in the country had soared to 7 million to 8 million – nearly double the number he had cited when he entered office in 2016.
Duterte’s campaign promise was to end the drug menace in his first 3 to 6 months in office, a target that he had since said he could not accomplish during his term.
Mind on 2022
The President had also said on previous occasions that the last 3 years of his term would be the “most dangerous” time for drug suspects, a point he reiterated during his meeting with Filipinos in Japan.
He said he couldn’t care less about the number of people killed in his campaign against illegal drugs – which some groups have estimated to number 20,000 while the government figure is around 5,000 killed in anti-drug police operations.
“I don’t give a shit kung ilan kayo diyan ang namatay, just don’t fuck with me on drugs; talagang papatayin kita (I don’t give a shit how many of you died, just don’t fuck with me on drugs; I’ll really kill you),” said Duterte.
With the midterm elections ending just weeks ago and the halfway mark of Duterte’s presidency approaching in June, Duterte’s mind seemed to be on 2022.
He told the roomful of migrant Filipinos that the next president would determine if Duterte’s achievements would bear fruit.
“In about 5 years time, kung masunod lang sana ng presidente ang ginagawa ko, medyo tuloy-tuloy (if the next president follows through with what I have done, things will continue),” he said.
In his speech during the same gathering, he told the Commission on Elections (Comelec) not to use Smartmatic machines in 2022, fearing fraud – though the same machines were used in the 2016 elections when he was elected as president; and in the last elections dominated by administration allies. – Rappler.com