(File photo)

MANILA – President Rodrigo R. Duterte believes the administration of his successor, President-elect Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. will “do its very best” in continuing the fight against illegal drugs.

“Well, I trust that the next administration will also do its very best to confront itong drug[s],” he said in a prerecorded Talk to the People.

Although he admitted that he is “scared” that the drug industry would proliferate when his term ends, he expressed confidence that the police and military would “maintain the momentum” in the anti-narcotics campaign.

“I place my full trust and confidence on the two institutions that we have na iyon lang ang ating panglaban (that fight for us): it's the police and the military. These are the institutions that would, I think, will not allow the drug people to prevail,” he added.

Duterte acknowledged that there are some bad eggs in the country’s police force, but noted that the Philippine National Police (PNP) is continuously cleansing its ranks of scalawags.

“I still trust the police. Mayroong mga scalawags, mayroon ring nasa droga pero (There are some scalawags, there are some involved in illegal drugs) — a few of them. And yet the police had to police its own ranks and maraming pulis na nahuli nila (and many police officers have been caught),” he said.

He urged anew members of the PNP to serve the country and people, regardless of who the country’s leaders are.

“Dadaan lang kami eh…Kita mo ako mayor tapos parang kahapon lang dumaan lang sa harap ko (We are just passing by…You see I used to be a mayor and it seems like only yesterday when I passed in front of you). But the organization of the Armed Forces and the police will be there always. So kayo ang --- nakikiusap ako sa inyo na maintain your ‘yung ano ninyo your reputation na maasahan ang pulis, maasahan ang military (So you, I appeal to you to maintain your reputation as police and military who can be relied on) to save the country,” he said.

Duterte also reminded them to steer clear of involvement in the illegal drug trade.

“Kaya kung kayong mga pulis kung talagang mahal ninyo ang bayan (That is why you cops, if you really love your country), stay away from drugs, the temptation of money,” he said. “I said it’s very corrosive to the values of a human being, the lure of money.”

On communist insurgency

Meanwhile, Duterte criticized human rights groups anew for accusing him of “going to the extremes” in his administration’s crackdown on illegal drugs while failing to investigate killings of law enforcement officers and civilians under the hands of communists and terrorists.

“Is there any case pursued by the human rights, international or the local, to at least equalize the situation by also going after the terrorists who are criminals?” he said.

He castigated members of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People's Army-National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF) for killing barangay (village) captains and other local government officials.

The CPP-NPA is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines.

The NDF has been formally designated as a terrorist organization by the Anti-Terrorism Council on June 23, 2021, citing it as “an integral and inseparable part” of the CPP-NPA created in April 1973.

Duterte also praised efforts being done by the National Task Force to End the Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) to address the country’s decades-long insurgency problem.

“Ang success ng ELCAC, iyong whole-of-government approach, ‘pag na-maintain 'yan, mas madali (The success of the ELCAC, its whole-of-government approach, if we are able to maintain that, it would be easier),” he added.

He expressed confidence that the government would almost “wipe out” communist rebels in “another two years.”

Executive Order 70, inked by Duterte in December 2018, institutionalizes a whole-of-nation approach to attain inclusive and sustainable peace, and creates the NTF-ELCAC to oversee its implementation.

In previous speeches, Duterte said he hoped the next administration will continue the government’s anti-insurgency programs under the NTF-ELCAC. (PNA)