Duterte’s war on drug a success, says Malacañang

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, July 22) — Malacañang is claiming success on President Rodrigo Duterte’s war against illegal drugs, while also expressing confidence that the problem will be fully eliminated before his term ends.

At Wednesday's press briefing, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque listed down the achievements of the administration when it comes to ending the country’s drug problem.

He highlighted that the government was able to clear 52.05% of barangays across the country of illegal drugs.

Citing government data as of May 31, Roque said a total of 807 drug dens and clandestine laboratories have been dismantled.

He noted that authorities seized ₱49.31 billion worth of drugs, rescued 3,736 minors, conducted 203,715 anti-illegal drug operations, and arrested 293,841 individuals.

Lahat po iyan, I think, are proper measurements kung matagumpay nga po itong war on drugs, and I would say it has been successful,” Roque said.

[Translation: All these, I think, are proper measurements if the war on drugs is a success, and I would say it has been successful.]

With still remaining targets, the spokesman expressed confidence that these will be completed before Duterte leaves office next year even though the president admitted he cannot finish the battle within his term.

Na-realize po niya early on his term na talagang mas malalim at mas malala ang problema kaya nga po mas tumagal iyong pagsupil sa ipinagbabawal na droga,” Roque said.

[Translation: He realized early on his term that this is really deep-rooted and a lot worse that is why supressing illegal drugs took longer.]

Kampante naman po tayo na may isang taon pa so baka kakayanin naman pong gawin iyan at pagkatapos po ng termino ng Presidente ay maaaring ma-achieve po na lahat ng barangay ay maging drug-free,” he added.

[Translation: There is still one year and we are confident that we might still achieve that, and after the President's term we may have achieved that all barangays are drug-free.]

One of Duterte’s campaign promises in 2016 was to end illegal drug trade in the first three to six months of his presidency.

However, the chief executive later on said he realized that the issue was too difficult to address and extended his self-imposed deadline a number of times.

READ: SONA 2021: A look at President Duterte's war on drugs five years on

Duterte's war on drugs has been heavily criticized even abroad. It prompted a prosecutor of the International Criminal Court to request for a probe into the alleged crime against humanity committed under such campaign, and which Duterte shrugged off.

CNN Philippines correspondent Triciah Terada contributed to this report.