• President vowed relentless campaign against illegal drug trade
  • He said they won’t stop until every drug dealer has been effectively neutralized
  • He reiterated he will stake everything on this campaign
  • He also warned drug suspects to just give up peacefully so they won’t be killed

MANILA, Philippines—For President Rodrigo Duterte, his war on drugs will be all-or-nothing.

During his first State of the Nation Address (SONA), the president promised he won’t stop the relentless campaign against illegal drugs until every dealer has been effectively neutralized.

“We will not stop until the last drug lord, the last financier and the last pusher have surrendered or put behind bars or below the ground if they so wish,” ABS-CBN quoted him as saying.

Duterte reiterated that he is willing to bet everything for his campaign to succeed.

“In this quest, I will put at stake my honor, my life and the presidency itself,” he said.

Warning to Drug Suspects

Duterte, who ran and won the presidency under a strong anti-crime platform, also had a word of advice for drug suspects who think they can shield themselves from the law by running to religious or human rights groups: Just give up.

In his speech, Duterte said if these individuals want to live, they should peacefully give themselves up.

“Kung ayaw n’yong mamatay, kung ayaw n’yong masaktan, huwag kayong umasa sa mga pari at sa human rights. Hindi nakakapigil ‘yan ng kamatayan,” he said.

[If you do not want to die, if you do not want to get hurt, don’t run to the priests or human rights groups. They cannot stop death.]

Since Duterte’s ascension, tens of thousands of drug pushers and dependents have surrendered to the police. Hundreds more have been killed either in police operations or under mysterious circumstances.