Duterte asks for one more year to solve drug problem

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, December 6) — President Rodrigo Duterte asked for one more year to solve the drug problem in the country.

"Wala na akong istorya pa na extrajudicial killing. It will happen if it will happen. It cannot happen, if it cannot happen. Wala akong pakialam basta sabi ko sa droga, I hope to finish the problem maybe give me just another year," Duterte said at the mass oath-taking of Presidential Appointees in Malacañang Wednesday.

[Translation: I don't have anything else to say on extrajudicial killings. It will happen if it will happen. It cannot happen, if it cannot happen. I don't care, but on drugs, I hope to finish the problem maybe give me just another year.]

He then said that police will return to solve the drug problem in the country.

"Babalik ang pulis, babalik 'yan and the Human Rights Commission can come here, international and I will provide them an office. Bigyan ko silang building diyan sa — sumama na sila. Basta ako tatapusin ko talaga 'yan," he said.

[Translation: The police will return, they will and the Human Rights Commission can come here, international and I will provide them an office. I will give them a building, and they should enjoin. I will finish the drug problem.]

When he assumed the presidency in July 2016, Duterte had promised to end the drug problem in the country within six months -- or he would resign.

However, in September, he admitted he might have misjudged the severity and magnitude of the problem.

READ: Duterte: I underestimated the problem on drugs

The Philippine National Police (PNP) spearheaded the government's anti-illegal drug campaign through its projects Oplan Tokhang, and Oplan Double Barrel, which caught the ire of human rights groups because of reports of police abuses and extrajudicial killings.

On October 10, the President ordered the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) to helm the drug war. Two days later, the police stopped all of their drug operations.

On Tuesday, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said Duterte signed a memorandum ordering the return of the PNP to the drug war, but still under the supervision of the PDEA.

READ: Duterte allows police to go back to drug war

Government data as of October 2017 reported almost 4,000 deaths under the war on drugs, while human rights group believe the number to be as high as 13,000.