President Rodrigo Roa Duterte and President-elect Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. 

MANILA – President-elect Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. on Thursday said President Rodrigo Duterte asked him to continue the government's anti-illegal drug campaign.

Marcos revealed that during the meetings he had with Duterte prior to the May 9 polls, the outgoing president asked him to prioritize addressing the country's drug problem in his "own way".

“One thing that he was very assertive about was ‘Ituloy mo ‘yong anti-drug syndicate na sinimulan ko (Just continue the anti-drug syndicate [program] that I started). Do it your own way.’,” he said in a Facebook live interview with select media.

The next president said Duterte wants his successor to sustain his fight against illegal drugs to protect the youth.

"Do it your own way, palitan mo, pero huwag mo iiwanan dahil kawawa ang kabataan natin. Masisira ang buhay nila' (You could change it, but don't abandon it because our youth would be miserable. Their lives would be destroyed)," Marcos quoted Duterte as saying.

Marcos said he fully appreciates what Duterte had said as the drug problem still exists, and the government must deal with it accordingly.

Acting presidential spokesperson and Communications Secretary Martin Andanar earlier pointed out the success of the administration’s anti-narcotics campaign, which saw over PHP75 billion worth of seized drugs, over a million surrendered drug personalities, and the more accredited Drug Abuse Treatment and Rehab Centers across the country.

“Pagdating sa number of drug user surrenderees na nagpa-rehabilitate, the amount of hard drugs na nahuli ng ating (When it comes to the number of drug user surrenderees who are undergoing rehabilitation, the amount of hard drugs seized by our) Philippine National Police, ng ating (by our) Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency," he added.

The war against illegal drugs has been criticized even by the international community but Duterte was adamant that it is a social menace that must be stopped.

On Tuesday, Duterte warned drug smugglers that he would always consider them his enemies even as his six-year term ends on June 30.

“Galit talaga ako. ‘Pag ginawa mo ‘yan sa bayan ko, para na ring tinatapos mo ang buhay namin. So gusto kong dapat malaman ‘yan ng mga durugista (I am really mad. If you destroy my country, it is as if you ended our lives. So I want drug lords to know), I will forever remain your enemy. Iyan ang tandaan ninyo (Remember that),” he said in a prerecorded Talk to the People.

He reiterated his promise to continue his anti-narcotics campaign even as a civilian.

“We can continue this fight even if I am already a civilian. Mahirap itong shabu na ‘to, sabi ko sisirain ang bayan nito (This shabu is a difficult case, it will destroy this nation). They will make the Philippine society dysfunctional,” he added.

Duterte said he would rather see drug lords and drug peddlers “dead than alive.”

He also dismissed criticism from human rights groups as “posturing.”

“Itong (These) human rights, they are — all they have to do — all that they can do really is posturing, hanggang diyan lang ‘yan sila (that is all they can do). They cannot help the country,” he said.

Duterte said law enforcement agents should be able to kill drug dealers mercilessly, especially if it endangered their lives. (PNA)