The Philippines’ drug addicts are now in greater peril. Source: Flickr
Rodrigo Duterte, the new president of the Philippines, has told people to “go ahead and kill” drug addicts.
The ex-lawyer was only sworn in at the end of last month and has already incited the killing of significant numbers of criminals, in particular drug dealers.
Hundreds of drug addicts and traffickers have recently surrendered to the authorities, fearing a violent crackdown.
Duterte is known for his hard-line stance on crime, advocating vigilante murderers rather than the legal process. During his decades as mayor of the southern city of Davao, which was once lawless but is now reportedly peaceful, he was allegedly involved in extra-judicial killings.
In one of his first speeches as president, he said: “I know that there are those who do not approve of my methods of fighting criminality, the sale and use of illegal drugs and corruption. They say that my methods are unorthodox and verge on the illegal.
“In response let me say this. I have seen how corruption bled the government of funds, which were allocated for the use in uplifting the poor from the mire that they are in.
“I have seen how illegal drugs destroyed individuals and ruined family relationships. Look at this from that perspective and tell me that I am wrong.”
After his inauguration, he visited a Manila slum and said: “If you know of any addicts, go ahead and kill them yourself as getting their parents to do it would be too painful.”
Separately he said of dealers: “These sons of whores are destroying our children. I warn you, don’t go into that, even if you’re a policeman, because I will really kill you.”
Dozens of suspected drug dealers have been killed, either in reported gun battles with police or in mysterious circumstances. On 1 July, 10 drug dealers were killed separately in gun battles with the authorities in Bulacan province, north of Manila, as the crackdown began, according to Manila.
Duterte has also urged communist rebels, with whom he plans to engage in peace talks, to kill off drug traffickers.
In reference to extra judicial procedures some leftist militant groups conduct, he said: “Drugs have reached the hinterlands … what if you use your kangaroo courts to kill them to speed up the solution to our problem?”
He has assured police he would protect them if they kill while enforcing the law.
“Do your duty,” Duterte told a gathering of officers. “If in the process you kill 1,000 persons because you were doing your duty … I will protect you, and if they will try to impeach me, I will hurry up the process and we go out of the service together.”