President Rodrigo Roa Duterte delivers his speech during the Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-LABAN) campaign rally at the Alonte Sports Arena in Biñan City, Laguna on February 23, 2019. (Alfred Frias/Presidential Photo)

MANILA -- If he would live until the end of his term in 2022, President Rodrigo R. Duterte reiterated his “solemn” campaign promise to end the illegal drug trade.

Kung paabutin ako ng Diyos three years from now… tatapusin ko ‘to ito, itong… P***** i** ninyo tatapusin ko talaga ito. (If God will let me keep my post three years from now…I will finish this. I will really finish this),” Duterte said during the PDP-Laban campaign rally in Biñan City, Laguna on Saturday night.

“I’m posing this challenge. Nandito lahat ang networks eh. Tapusin na natin ito (All networks are here. Let’s finish this). I’ll make you that solemn promise,” he added.

Duterte claimed that illegal drugs, particularly shabu, affect around 7 to 8 million Filipinos.

“There are 7 to 8 million Filipinos reduced to slaves to a drug called shabu. Seven to eight million lost souls,” Duterte said.

He also encouraged the youth to stay away from illegal drugs.

Kayong lahat na hindi pa naka-umpisa, kayong mga bata, lumayo kayo (Those of you who haven’t started taking illegal drugs, especially you kids, stay away from them),” Duterte said.

“I'm pleading to you, almost on bended knees. Huwag kayong pumasok at i-control ninyo 'yang droga kasi papatayin talaga ang bayan natin. Sayang ang Pilipinas. So ako umaasa talaga sa inyo (Don’t enter in the illegal drug trade and control it, because it will really kill our country. The Philippines will be put to waste. So I really am relying on you),” he added.

The President also blasted human rights groups and advocates for criticizing his aggressive campaign on illegal drugs noting that all they did was “complain.”

On Feb. 20, Duterte said he wanted the war on illegal drugs to be “harsher in the coming days” noting that he did not want the country considered as a “failed state” because of drugs.

“I decided but I think I’d be more -- well I said harsher in the days to come,” Duterte said in his speech in Malacañan Palace.

“I will not allow my country to be destroyed by drugs. I will not allow my country to end up a failed state because of drugs. And I am declaring war and I said I will kill anybody who stands in the way,” he added.

He acknowledged that nobody might be able to solve the illegal drug problem in due time but stressed that he wanted to finish what he started. (PNA)