Duterte hits human rights advocates anew for criticizing the govt’s war on drugs

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, August 18) — President Rodrigo Duterte once again lashed out on human rights advocates for their criticisms on the national government’s war on drugs.

In his weekly address aired late Monday evening, Duterte lamented the human rights defenders are only focused on doing the body count of those who died in the anti-illegal drugs crackdown.

Napakatorpe naman nitong human rights pag hindi kayo nag-ano… ano ang ano ninyo magbilang lang ng patay? Aba maglipat kayo ng trabaho, wag sa human rights,” the President said.

[Translation: These human rights (defenders) are so stupid… what you will only count those who are dead? You should switch jobs, not in human rights.]

The President also questioned the real motives of human rights advocates who are vehemently against the government’s war on drugs, suggesting they should also do a nationwide campaign on how the use of drugs can kill someone’s life.

“What about the social problem, the serious and grave problems of drug addiction in this country? What are you doing about it? If they are killed in spite of educating them, you can always investigate and file cases,” said Duterte.

Duterte again renewed his call to impose death penalty on drug-related offenders, pointing out that countries like China, Malaysia, and Indonesia do such punishment for those convicted of drug-related crimes.

He again emphasized that solving the illegal drugs problem in the country will enable Filipino parents to realize their dream of seeing their children live normally as they grow up.

“Drugs really destroys the spirit of the nation,” Duterte said.

The President reminded the Filipino citizens to not take illegal drugs as it will destroy their life.

Magtanim ka sa bukid, dyan sa palengke maraming negosyo dyan. Huwag ka magbili ng droga. Malaki ang pera dyan. Pero kung nagkamali ka, buhay mo talaga ang iiwan mo,” he warned.

[Translation: You should plant in the farm or have a business in a wet market. Do not buy drugs. A huge amount of money is involved there. But if you make a wrong move, your life will be sacrificed.]

The Duterte administration’s centerpiece anti-illegal drug campaign Oplan Tokhang drew criticism from other government officials and human rights groups for alleged extrajudicial killing of small-time users accused of violently resisting arrest. In this program, police authorities visit homes of suspected drug users and request them to refrain from engaging in such act.

Based on the June 2019 report from the Philippine National Police (PNP), over 6,000 individuals allegedly involved in illegal drugs died from the police operations. The program was suspended in March this year as the PNP focused on the country’s fight against COVID-19.