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Duterte Says His Fight Against Drugs Is 'Unrelenting'

24 Juillet 2017

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte says he will never visit the United States while he is in office, and adds that he has "seen America and it's lousy". "Despite worldwide and local pressures, the fight will not stop until those who deal in it understand that they have to cease, they have to stop because the alternative is either jail or hell", Duterte said in his SONA speech with the theme of "comfortable life for all".

"There is a jungle out there, there are beasts out there preying on the innocent, the helpless", Duterte said, adding the drug menace "is the root cause of so much evil and so much suffering that weakens the social fabric and deters foreign investments from pouring in".

The president said he does not intend to lose the fight against illegal drugs while he shrugged off human rights and due process concerns. "I value human life the way I value mine, You harm the children and I will hound you to the very gates of hell", he said.

"This policy is non-negotiable", Duterte said.

Duterte said he would use revenue from mining taxes to help host communities that were left "in agony". Duterte won congressional approval on Saturday for an extension of martial law in the south to deal with the siege of Marawi city by pro-Islamic State group militants, the worst crisis he has faced since taking power past year.

The 63-day fighting has so far killed more than 600 people, including almost 100 civilians, and displaced around 500,000 civilians, according to government data.

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Duterte has remained popular despite the two-month siege in Marawi City representing one of the toughest challenges of his presidency.

In his first year in office, Duterte received several criticisms even from global leaders.

Anxious that Congress had been reduced "to a mere echo chamber", Drilon warned that giving in to Duterte now could mean that "tomorrow we will wake up with martial law being declared in the entire country".

The president also defended his position on martial law in his State of the Nation Address, saying, "I declared martial law in Mindanao because I believe that was the fastest way to quell rebellion at the least cost of lives and property".

Thousands of suspects have perished during the anti-drug campaign he launched after being sworn into office in June previous year, sparking widespread criticism and threats of prosecution.

Duterte Says His Fight Against Drugs Is 'Unrelenting'