PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte vowed to stop shabu being cooked in old ships in international waters from entering the country as he led the destruction of P61.63 million worth of smuggled luxury vehicles in Port Area, Manila on Tuesday evening.
“There are ships in international waters, old ships—they are cooking shabu. [The drugs are] placed.. in plastic bins [that are thrown] out to the sea, [with] a homing device [so they can be picked up]. You can see them in Regions I and II and III. It’s all awash with plastic bins. That’s shabu. And shabu remains [our] number one problem,” Duterte said.
The President said he considered shabu a national security threat that would take longer to address than the three to six months he promised during the presidential campaign.
“I said in six months time, I will solve the problem of drugs. But that was based on the factual situation in Davao, numbers and all. But when I became President, I saw the magnitude of the contamination,” he said.
Duterte also took a swipe at human rights groups who have been taking him to task for the thousands of suspects killed in his war on drugs.
“I am just trying to build a country freed from any of those painful experiences of other countries. Do not destroy the youth because I will kill you,” he said.
He accused the human rights group of trying to destroy the country.
During the ceremony, he also said the smuggling that has gone on for centuries must stop.
He said he opted to destroy the smuggled luxury cars rather than auction them off because selling them would simply allow syndicates to bid for the seized vehicles.
On Tuesday, the President also turned down an invitation to an Asia-Europe summit in Brussels as he again lashed out at the European Union and accused the bloc of insulting him over his deadly war on drugs.
Duterte labeled the 28-country E—the Philippines’ second most important trading partner—”stupid” and warned he would not stay silent in the face of Western condemnation of his anti-crime crackdown.
Europe has been vocal in its criticism of Duterte’s hallmark policy, which has left nearly 4,000 drug suspects dead and seen human rights groups claim he was responsible for a crime against humanity.
Duterte hit out after saying European Council president Donald Tusk had invited him to the biennial Asia-Europe meeting in October.
“I’ve been invited by the EU, that stupid organization,” Duterte told government workers late Tuesday.
“I said, ‘For what? You thought of me as that kind of person then, so why change your assessment?’”
He continued: “So you get to insult me? I will use whore-speak on you, too. Don’t ever do that to me.”
Despite widespread criticism over alleged “extrajudicial killings” in the drugs war, Duterte has vowed to pursue the campaign until the end of his six-year term.
The issue had risked threatening the duty-free privileges of billions of dollars in annual Philippine exports to the EU, but Brussels announced last month Manila will retain the trade perks.
The EU mission in Manila confirmed Wednesday that Duterte had been “invited like other leaders from Asia and Europe” to the summit, but declined to comment on the President’s latest outburst.
Duterte said he was “not like other presidents” and would not take perceived slights in his stride, adding he also disliked traveling.
He recalled an invitation from President Donald Trump to visit the United States, which he said provoked a threat from American senators to protest if he stepped foot on US soil.
“I said, you know guys, you are too presumptuous. Whoever told you that I would visit your place? What is there to see?” he added.
Duterte has branded Trump’s predecessor Barack Obama a “son of a whore” for criticizing his drugs campaign, but enjoys a better rapport with the current American leader who also has a reputation for being outspoken.
Trump declared at a Manila summit in November he had a “great relationship” with his Philippine counterpart.
However, Duterte also said Tuesday he preferred not to visit places where he would be criticized as “sexist” for speaking out. With AFP
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