MANILA – President Rodrigo Roa Duterte has no intention to issue an apology for his anti-narcotics campaign.
This, as he maintained that he did the "right" thing in launching a war on drug syndicates right at the start of his six-year term in July 2016.
"I would say and I would insist na ang tail end sa administration na tama talaga ang ginawa ko. Hindi ako aatras. No apologies. No. Wala ako. Basta ang akin, tama 'yung ginawa ko (I would say and I would insist that the tail end of the administration is that I did the right thing. I will not bow down. No apologies. For me, I did the right thing)," he said in a taped Talk to the People aired Thursday morning.
Duterte expressed dismay that despite the relentless anti-narcotics drive, the scourge of illegal drugs still plagues the country.
He also warned that the drug menace would persist under the next administration, given that billions worth of illegal drugs continue to enter the country.
"We continue to suffer from the drug problem. Hindi ito matatapos (This will not end)," he said. "Kaya dito talaga (So, here), it has to be a war. Hindi ito sabihin mo (You cannot call it) special operation ng (of the) police or the military. It cannot be because this thing is a very sinister and virulent activity that would affect life."
'Stronger pressure' vs. drugs
Duterte said he is optimistic that his successor would continue his drug war.
He also hoped that the next leader would take a "stronger pressure" against drug traffickers.
"But I would insist on a continuance of the drug war," Duterte said. "I hope that the next administration would be, maybe, [take] a strong pressure sa ginawa ko, mas mabuti. Pabalik-balik ang droga eh (compared to what I have done. That's better because the drug problem is still there)."
Duterte also vowed that he would continue to take a vital role in fighting illegal drugs even beyond his term to maintain peace and order in the country.
"Maski na civilian ako, kung meron diyang ano, magsumbong ako sa pulis o sa PDEA (Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency), do something about it kasi merong problema (Even if I'm a civilian already, I would ask the police or the PDEA to do something because we still have a problem)," he said.
As of March 2022, around 14,888 high-value targets have been arrested in the country since the anti-narcotics campaign was launched in July 2016, according to the Real Numbers released by the PDEA.
Around 336,796 individuals have also been arrested, while some 6,241 drug suspects have died during the conduct of a total of 233,356 anti-drug operations nationwide.
Authorities have also seized PHP88.83 billion worth of illegal drugs across the country, including PHP76.17 billion worth of shabu. (PNA)