Duterte seeks more time to win war against drug-related crimes

Manila, Sep 18 (IANS) Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte said on Sunday that his administration needs another six months to win the war against drug-related crimes in the country.

“I never realised the (illegal drug) problem is this big,” Duterte said when he presented a freed Norwegian hostage who had been released a day ago from captivity by the Abu Sayyaf bandits.

“Just give me a little extension of maybe another six months,” Xinhua news agency quoted the Philippines President as saying.

Duterte, who assumed presidency on June 30, has vowed to solve the problem of rampant criminality and illegal drug trade in the country in six months.

But he admitted for the first time on Sunday that in spite of his administration’s relentless and sustained war against drug-related crimes, the six-month deadline he imposed on himself was not enough.

The initial self-imposed deadline to curb illegal drugs will end in December.

According to Philippines police, nearly 3,000 people have been killed in police anti-drug operations and extrajudicial killings in the past more than two months.

Philippines police have so far carried out 18,500 operations to arrest suspected drug users and pushers, which have resulted in the arrest of 17,528 suspects.

More than 700,000 users and pushers have already “surrendered”, including local officials, rogue policemen, military Generals whom Duterte included in his long list of drug users, pushers and protectors.

–IANS

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