Duterte: ‘Human rights groups out to destroy government’

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Duterte: ‘Human rights groups out to destroy government’

MANILA, Philippines — The drug problem has turned addicts into criminals, and human rights advocates who oppose the war on drugs are “enemies of the state,” President Duterte said on Wednesday. 

“Human rights advocates regard the government as an opponent. They are out to destroy the government. That’s OK,” the President said during a forum on small businesses in Dimasalang, Masbate.

“But you take note of the innocent people killed by criminals. Filipinos have become slaves. Why? They are slaves to a drug called shabu. And they need it every day. And by the end of the day, they become inutile,” he added. 

More than 5,000 people have died since Duterte launched a war on illegal drugs in 2016. Police said that the slain drug suspects resisted arrest. But human rights advocates do not believe this and insist that the anti-drug campaign encourages abuses.

Duterte warned local executives and policemen in cahoots with drug rings that they would face the consequences of their actions.  

“Hindi kita talaga palusutin. ‘Pag sinira mo ang bayan ko, swak, wala na tayong pinag-usapan at hindi ako maghingi ng tawad sa inyo (I won’t let you go. If you destroy my country, there is no need for us to talk and I won’t apologize to you),” the President said. 

“Huwag ngayon kasi isa sa mga ipinangako ko talaga yayariin ko ang droga (Do not do it now. I promised to put an end to illegal drugs),” he added. 

Duterte reiterated that he is ready to go to jail over his anti-drug war. 

“If I have to kill you, I will do it,” the President said. 

“And then I will give you a gift. And my gift to the Filipino people is I will offer my freedom itself.” 

The group Karapatan called Duterte a “tyrant” after the President tagged human rights defenders as enemies of the state.

 “It is actually those in government who order, encourage and perpetuate extrajudicial killings, illegal or arbitrary arrests, rape, torture and other rights violations,” Karapatan secretary-general Cristina Palabay said.

Palabay said Duterte’s sham drug war and its consequences could not be justified by the government’s inability to resolve crime and the roots of the drug problem.

Karapatan reminded Duterte that human rights defense is not the sole purview of rights advocates.

“Every day, every hour, several communities and individuals uphold and defend their rights. The people are defending our rights. As long as Duterte continues to disregard these rights, he will be made accountable by the people,” Palabay said.