PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte will be raising the drug menace as he marks his first foreign trip as the country’s newest head of state at the Association of South East Asian Nations Summit in Vientiane, Laos, the Department of Foreign Affairs announced Friday.
Foreign Affairs Assistant Secretary Maria Dela Vega said Duterte will take up the issue not only with China but also with the other members of the regional bloc.
“It’s not only with China but with the rest of those he’s going to meet,” Dela Vega told reporters in Malacañang.
“He will explain to the international community the problem that we have and how it impacts on the social fabric of our society.”
In other developments:
• The Presidential Communication Office on Friday released the anti-drug TV advertisement created by award-winning Director Brillante Mendoza;
• Presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella said the TV advertisement focuses on the effect of drugs on the family and how big the drug problem is in the country;
• Philippine National Police Chief Ronald dela Rosa warned the 150,000-strong police force and local officials against receiving payola from illegal gambling syndicates;
• Private subdivisions, exclusive villages and the business process outsourcing offices in Metro Manila will be the next target of the police crackdown against drug dealers and users;
• Rep. Robert Ace Barbers on Friday asked the House leadership to give priority to the passage of a measure seeking to impose the death penalty against erring and grossly negligent public officers and employees who are responsible for the flight of drug mules from any Philippine air or sea port.
In a press briefing in Davao City, Duterte reiterated he was not bothered by the spate of extra-judicial killings in the country,
“I have to solve the problem involving more than 3,700,000 addicts. I cannot compromise my people,” Duterte said.
“Criminals themselves are behind these extra-judicial killings. They get rid of the criminals by their own hands, I cannot control criminal minds.”
Earlier, Duterte said he was ready to discuss any issues with United States President Barack Obama, including the drug menace in the country, when they meet in Laos next week.
But he said the US President must listen to him first before bringing up the question of human rights.
He said Chinese nationals were the leaders of the drug rings all over the country, and they were as good as dead once they escaped from prison.
He warned alleged drug lords Peter Lim alias “Jaguar,” Peter Co alias “Wu Tuan,” and Herbert Colangco alias “Ampang” that they would die if they stepped out of jail.