MANILA – Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte pledged to continue his war against drugs in his final three years in office despite international calls for a probe into the rising death toll.
“Do not destroy my country for the three years that I am still here,” Duterte said in a speech in Leyte in the central Philippines on Friday. “Do not produce drugs for our children to eat and go crazy. I will really kill you.”
Since taking office in 2016, Duterte has waged a campaign against drugs that has killed thousands and been condemned by human rights advocates. Philippine police place drug-related killings at 6,600 during his presidency, a quarter of the 27,000 estimated by rights groups. Iceland has initiated a resolution supported by 28 nations calling on the United Nations to investigate.
Duterte’s spokesman Salvador Panelo called the U.N. resolution an interference, saying that other nations may have been misled by “false news” on the drug war because the deaths were mainly caused by suspects resisting arrest.
In his speech, Duterte reiterated that the Philippines cannot fight China over the territorial dispute in the South China Sea because of China’s military might. He instead urged the U.S. to intervene.
“Let them assemble all their armaments there in South China Sea,” he said. “Fire the first shot and I’ll be glad to do the next.”