President Rodrigo Duterte has warned the Philippines is on the brink of an “endgame” in its war on narcotics, a warning that has sparked concerns of a renewed crackdown on the drug trade.
Duterte, speaking at the opening of the Philippine National Police (PNP) headquarters in Quezon City on Tuesday, told the crowd gathered that the country is now in “an endgame” that will see it “completely transformed” as a “peaceful country”.
“I don’t want to say the word endgame, but I think it is the endgame,” he said.
“This is an end game, this is a new era.
It’s an end-game.
I am telling you, we are at a turning point.
The endgame is a very big endgame.
We are not at the end.
We will continue to move forward.
We don’t know how long we will have to go but we are going to continue moving forward.
It will be done,” he added.
He also said the war on the drugs was a “war against the Filipino people” that has left millions dead.
“If I had a dollar for every one of the drug pushers in this country who were killed, I’d have a lot of dollars,” he told the cheering crowd.
“And the money would be worth a lot more than this drug money.
The drug pusher, the drug user, the dealer.
I’m not talking about the person who was caught and killed.
I mean the person that was killed.”
The Philippines is home to more than half of the world’s illegal drug producers and users.
It has since launched an anti-narcotics campaign in the country’s southern cities, where the death toll from the war has soared, with the police calling on residents to be vigilant and to not go out in public to avoid being caught.’
I want peace’: DuterteOn Sunday, the president signed an executive order that gave him the power to take “all necessary measures” to deal with drugs, including a ban on the production, import and sale of heroin.
He has previously described drugs as a public health issue and said the government was taking on drugs as part of its war against crime.
The Philippine president also announced a plan to end the countrys long-running conflict with China, saying the war with China was “not a war” and was a result of the country becoming “dependent on China”.
“This (war) started in the 1960s when we got a great deal of weapons from China,” he reportedly said during his inauguration address in March.
“This war has lasted almost 50 years.
We have seen what happened to us.
We had the great fortune to have a country that was so rich, so rich and so powerful.
But we are a drug addict, and we are addicted to the drugs that we have.
And we are not ready to live without drugs.”
On Monday, the PNP released a video of Duterte speaking about his plans to end drugs in the Philippines.
In the video, the Philippine president said the country was “ready to end” the drug war.
“If we want peace, then we must have peace.
If we want to live a peaceful life, then, if we want the freedom to live, then peace is a must.
If you want peace to be achieved, then you must be prepared to give peace,” Duterte said in the video.’
You will pay’: Duterte on drugs”The next step in our fight against drugs is to stop the drug traffic.
If this drug trade continues, you will pay for it,” he allegedly said.
Dutertes also promised to give up his anti-drugs stance and said that drugs were now an issue that “can be dealt with”.
“We can solve drugs, but you have to do it differently.
You cannot take drugs.
You have to stop them.
You are not going to solve it.
It is the drug problem,” he alleged.
Dillos statement on drugs is an extension of the US president’s recent declaration of martial law over the country after the death of anti-war activist, student and leader Ernesto “Che” Guevara.
Duterte has previously said he was not prepared to “shoot people to the ground” and called the US leader’s declaration a “travesty” and “abhorrent”.