CEBU CITY, Philippines – "Just imagine if I kill 10 people a day for 6 years," President-elect Rodrigo Duterte said of the number of people he'd have to kill to make a dent in lowering the number of drug users in the Philippines.
Duterte on Saturday, June 25, reiterated that he would continue his campaign against drugs and crime when he finally takes his seat as President on June 30.
A recent report handed to him by the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) claimed that 3 million Filipinos are addicted to drugs. "The problem is once you're addicted to shabu, rehabilitation is no longer a viable option," Duterte told the crowd at the Sugbu Grounds at the South Road Properties (SRP) area in this city.
"If I couldn't convince you to stop, I'll have you killed... if you're into drugs, I'm very sorry. I'll have to apologize to your family because you'll surely get killed." he said.
Duterte spoke for almost 45 minutes in Cebuano, his native language.
While he claims those already addicted to shabu can't be rehabilitated, as mayor of Davao, he maintains a rehabilitation center, where most of its patients are addicted to shabu, or methamphetamine. (READ: LOOK: Davao City's reheab center for drug addicts, youth offenders)
Even though Duterte has yet to sit as president, many local governments and police departments have already gotten a head start on the president-elect's marching orders.
From May 10, the day after the presidential election, to June 20, at least 54 drug suspects have been killed in police operations.
Two of the suspects killed are from the Central Visayas. Another suspected drug personality Alvaro Alvaro turned himself in on June 23 and said he would cooperate with the police in naming other persons involved in the drug trade in the region.
Duterte said while many critics slam the recent killing of suspected drug lords to be "embarrassing," he said that crimes committed by drug pushers and addicts are the "bigger embarrassment."
In Cebu City, mayor-elect Tomas Osmeña has also offered a P50,000 reward for police officers who kill drug suspects in the line of duty. (READ: Cebu City: Mayor Osmeña, who 'inspired' vigilante killings, is back)
He gave the speech during a Thanksgiving concert hosted by the Cebu Alliance for Change.
Last May, Cebu delivered 1.1 million votes for Duterte, while his closest rival Manuel "Mar" Roxas II only got around 586,000 votes in the province.
Dozens of volunteer groups and local political party One Cebu helped campaign for Duterte during the last campaign season.
Organizers estimated the crowds to reach between 50,000 and 80,000 people. But according to Philippine National Police (PNP) Region 7 Senior Superintendent Lyndon Lawas, only about 2,500 attended.
The concert, originally scheduled for 4 pm, started at around 8 pm due to a heavy downpour.
Duterte arrived at the venue past 10 pm, where he was escorted by members of the Presidential Security Group (PSG) to the SRP after attending a wedding at the Shangri-La Mactan in Lapu-Lapu City.
He complained that the PSG prevented him from greeting attendees of the concert. "If I could go down and hug every single one of you, I would," he said. – Rappler.com