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Duterte in full control of drug war – Palace

President Duterte has full control of the government’s relentless campaign against illegal drugs, Malacañang declared yesterday, as it disputed a foreign report that he must be penalized for such violent war.

Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar asserted that the government’s campaign against drugs has actually been “successful,” saying calls to impose economic sanctions and pull out aid from the Philippines over human rights concerns were unreasonable.

“President Rodrigo Duterte is in full control of the drug war,” Andanar said in a statement. “The Philippines has been successful in the campaign against illegal drugs with the voluntary surrender of 1,017,869 drug personalities as of January 5 based on data from the Philippine National Police,” Andanar added.

Andanar was reacting to a report published by the London-based The Guardian titled “Duterte’s drug war in the Philippines is out of control, he needs to be stopped.”

The article written by Robert Muggah, a research director of the Igarapé Institute and SecDev Foundation, urged the international community to consider economic sanctions on the Philippines, particularly divest from companies “directly and indirectly fueling the massacre of Filipinos.” The report also said foreign governments should pull out aid to the Philippines “if no change of direction materializes.”

Andanar found the Guardian’s report unfair but stressed the President is unfazed by such threats of sanctions over the drug war.

“The Guardian’s call for economic sanctions by foreign countries on the Philippines is uncalled for. Threats of withdrawal of development aid and other forms of assistance are totally unfounded,” he said.

“The President remains undaunted as he will never compromise the dignity of the nation for foreign aid. There is an enormous drug problem in the Philippines and he is trying his best to keep the country from becoming a narco-state,” Andanar said.

Andanar appealed to countries to treat the Philippines “as a sovereign nation and with mutual respect.” He highlighted that majority of Filipinos support the President’s anti-drug campaign.

A December survey conducted by Social Weather Stations showed that nine out of ten Filipinos believe the drug problem has declined in their areas since the President took office. “The same survey indicated that a great majority of our people, 77 percent, gave an excellent rating to the President’s drug war,” Andanar said.

He said the President also enjoys high public trust and support “as people feel secure in their homes, in the streets, day and night.” (GENALYN D. KABILING)