Manila, Sep 19 (IANS) Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has said he wants to extend the war against drugs in the country, which has so far claimed around 3,500 lives, to a year, local media reported on Monday.
“Just give me a little extension of maybe another six months,” said Duterte on Sunday night.
“I didn’t have any idea that there were hundreds of thousands of people already in the drug business.”
“And what makes it worse is that they are operated now by people in government, especially those in elected positions. So it would be government versus government,” added the President.
Duterte won the May 9 presidential elections, riding on his electoral promise of eliminating drugs from the country in the first six months of his mandate, EFE news reported.
Since then the controversial leader has ordered the police to shoot anyone resisting arrest and on various occasions urged citizens to eliminate anyone involved with drugs.
Close to 3,500 alleged drug traffickers and addicts have been killed since he began his mandate; among them close to 1,500 in police operations and the remaining by vigilante groups.
Around 715,000 traffickers and addicts have been delivered to the authorities and more than 17,000 have been detained, with drug supply cut by 90 per cent in the country, according to the police.