President Rodrigo Duterte on Saturday said he is not afraid to be killed because of his war on illegal drugs.
"I am the 16th president. It could be my honor, it is my happiness to be killed in the altar of drugs in the Philippines," Duterte said during his speech at Kaamulan Festival in Malaybalay City, Bukidnon.
Duterte said becoming a president is a very rare opportunity.
"It's my honor to die for our nation," he said.
He reiterated his promise to kill drug lords even if it means him "rotting in hell."
"For as long as you don’t stop, as long as I am president, I will really defeat you, whether you permit it or not,' he said.
Duterte also apologized to the poor people who were killed in the anti-drug war.
"They're all poor because it's the poor who are ignorant and so they are the ones who will get hit," he said.
"You say you’re poor? That’s not an answer. I have a problem. Four million addicts. Do you want another four million during my term?" he added.
The president said he will end illegal drugs until the last day of his term. More than 7,000 drug suspects have been killed since the Philippine National Police launched the "tokhang" campaign against illegal drugs on July 1 last year.
Meanwhile, in a statement, Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella said the "favorable public sentiment" that they feel safer now in the streets gives the government "strong impetus to surge ahead in our anti-drug campaign.
He was referring to the report of the PNP, citing a Pulse Asia survey conducted in December last year, that more than 8 out of 10 or 82 percent of Metro Manila residents now feel safer due to anti-drug efforts.
"The administration's drug war is well-received by the people on the ground in sharp contrast to the gloom and hopelessness depicted by the President's critics," Abella said.
But with the survey result, he expressed hope that the government continues to get the cooperation of the community and even the clergy in the implementation of a rehabilitation program for those who "surrendered" under the "tokhang" campaign. Ella Dionisio/DMS