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Duterte unsettled by killings; believes that life is sacred

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By Genalyn Kabiling 

Even as the government wages a harsher war on illegal drugs, President Duterte recently said he considers life as sacred and does not want to kill people.

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte delivers his speech during the 9th anniversary of the Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) and the 25th anniversary of the Brunei Darussalam-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines East ASEAN Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA) at the SMX Convention Center in Davao City on February 19, 2019. (ALBERT ALCAIN/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN)

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte
(ALBERT ALCAIN/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN)

The President said killing another person was an “unsettling thought” that could haunt the perpetrator for the rest of his life.

“Look, itong mga human rights, I agree with you. Life is sacred,” Duterte said during the signing of the universal health care law in Malacañang last Wednesday.

“We do not want to kill people. It’s an unsettling thought when you sleep at night especially if you commit a mismatch or nagkamali ka and it happened and it will bug you all throughout your life,” he added.

The President however defended the government’s intensified campaign against illegal drugs, saying he only wanted to protect the Filipinos from such national security threat.

Duterte, in declaring the war on drugs, said he would not allow the country to deteriorate and become a failed state due to illegal drugs. He was concerned about the involvement of two foreign drug cartels following the seizure of cocaine packages in the country’s shores.

“Now that I am President, my duty reduced in two sentences will be something like: To protect the people and preserve the Republic of the Philippines. That I will intend to do and more. Hindi sa panahon ko ha. Not the NPAs (New People’s Army), not the Abu Sayyaf, not the drug people,” Duterte said.

In stepping up the campaign against drug offenders, Duterte insisted that the people must be able to walk along the streets free from harm and other threats.

“Our children and the citizens must be free anytime to use the public streets and public lands. That the citizen can go anywhere,” he said. “They must be able to travel at night safe and sound because those public streets, alleys, and public places belong to the people of the Republic of the Philippines.

The former Davao City mayor said he hopes to put an end to the drug menace before the end of his term. He earlier promised to end the drug menace in the first six months of his term but failed to keep it due to the gravity of the problem.

“I’m not speculating on my competence or ability, far from it actually. Nobody can solve it in due time. Pero gusto kong tapusin ko talaga ‘to sa panahon ko [But I want to end this within my term],” he said.

“I am declaring war and I said I will kill anybody who stands in the way,” said Duterte.

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