MANILA – President Rodrigo R. Duterte has maintained his approach to be a “hardliner” as he continues the fight against illegal drugs, corruption in government, and criminality.
“Ako talaga ay hardliner. And ganoon talaga ako, noon pa, hardliner ako (I am really a hardliner. And I have been a hardliner even before),” Duterte said in his interview with SMNI’s “Exclusive” aired on Tuesday night.
His resolve is to pursue a relentless campaign against drug offenders, corrupt government workers, and criminals until his term ends in 2022.
Duterte maintained that he would do everything to live up to his promise, adding that he is ready to show his “violent” side to keep his vow to protect his fellow Filipinos.
“You destroy my country, I will have to tell you that you bring out the worst in me, (the) violent side of my persona. Eh naaawa ako sa bayan ko (I pity my country),” he said.
‘Lessening’ of illegal drugs
Amid his government’s anti-narcotics drive, a “lessening” of illegal drugs has been observed, Duterte said.
He attributed the successful fight against illegal drugs to “better intelligence.”
Duterte then reiterated his warning against drug personalities that he is willing to “trade his soul to the devil” and “go to hell” to stop their illicit activities.
“So evil to evil tayo (So, that is evil to evil). And do not ever, ever think that you are the only one who can do evil things kasi ako, marunong din akong bumaba sa impyerno (because I can go to hell) to really meet you where you want it to be,” he said.
Friends not exempted
Duterte also reassured the public that he has zero tolerance for corruption.
His friends in government who will be proven guilty of corruption will not be spared from his firing spree, he said.
“Ako kaibigan tayo pero sinabi ko naman sa kanila iyan, huwag kayong pumasok sa corruption (I have told my friends not to get involved in corruption),” Duterte said. “Basta ako sa corruption, talagang yayariin kita (When it comes to corruption, I will go after you). I do not have to announce it to the public.”
He said he would just do his job of getting rid of corrupt public servants “silently.”
‘Lasting, sustainable’ peace
Duterte also renewed his vow to attain “lasting and sustainable” peace in the country.
“So since the beginning of my presidency, we have shown our determination in combatting insurgency and terrorism with the end goal of attaining lasting sustainable peace in the country,” he said.
His administration, he said, is busy eradicating terrorism and insurgency that have been plaguing the country for a long time.
Duterte added that the peace talks with the communist movement are “dead in its tracks,” and its armed wing, the New People’s Army, is “fighting without a cause anymore.”
“We will also continue our socio-economic development mechanism that will address the root cause of our peace and order problem. We need to win the hearts and minds of our people so that they would not easily fall prey to the manipulative skills of these insurgents and extremist groups,” he said.
The Communist Party of the Philippines – NPA is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, the European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines. (PNA)