“The war against illegal drugs is far from over.” President Rodrigo R. Duterte began his third and shortest State of the Nation Address (SONA), vowing that his administration’s drug war will be “as relentless and chilling” as it was the day it began.
“Let me begin by putting it bluntly: the war against illegal drugs is far from over. Where before, the war resulted in the seizure of illegal drugs worth millions of pesos, today, they run [into] billions in peso value,” Duterte said at the Batasan Pambansa Complex in the House of Representatives.
Duterte said he could only “shudder” at the harm that illegal drugs have caused Filipinos throughout the country, noting that this was the very reason why the drug war will not be set aside.
“Instead, it will be as relentless and chilling, if you will, as on the day it began,” he said.
He said drug dealers know the consequences of their criminal acts but still resisted arrest. At the same time, he also hit human rights advocates and church leaders for criticizing his drug war.
Despite protests against the drug war, Duterte said it could not dissuade him from continuing his fight against shabu, cocaine, cannabis, heroine, and other illegal drugs.
“If you think that I can be dissuaded from continuing this fight because of [your] demonstrations, your protests, which I find, by the way, misdirected, then you got it all wrong.
“Your concern is human rights, mine is human lives. You worry about the present; I am concerned [about] both the present and the future. I worry about the future because I know what crimes can do to the youth of this country. If not stopped, crimes can make human cesspools of succeeding generations. I will not allow it to happen. Not during my term,” Duterte said.
Duterte renewed his vow to end corruption within government describing it as “a leech that it bleeds the government of funds programmed for its infrastructure and other social development projects.”
The President acknowledged that he dismissed several government officials including friends and political supporters, adding that although he valued friendships, “it has its limits.”
Meanwhile, he urged officials to cut red-tape within their agencies and make government services “truly customer friendly.”
“Our people deserve efficient, effective, and responsive government services. They deserve nothing less,” he added.
Duterte’s third SONA was delivered in 48 minutes. The President’s first SONA lasted for 90 minutes while his second SONA lasted for 120 minutes.
His third SONA was delayed for over an hour due to a change in speakership in the House of Representatives where former president and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo replaced Davao del Norte Rep. Pantaleon Alvarez. PNA