Pubdate: Tue, 30 Aug 2016
Source: Philippine Daily Inquirer (Philippines)
Copyright: 2016 Associated Press


(AP) - PRESIDENT Duterte said on Monday that the bloody antidrug 
campaign, that has left nearly 1,800 people dead, did not amount to 
genocide, but he nevertheless assured the policemen he was ready to 
go to jail to defend them from lawsuits.

Mr. Duterte drew a line between the widespread killings sparked by 
his antidrug war and the brutality under Syrian President Bashar 
Assad and the atrocities committed by the Islamic State (IS) terrorist group.

"Genocide? Who did I kill? I did not kill any child. I did not drop 
barrel (bombs) just like Assad," the President said in a speech to 
mark National Heroes' Day before war veterans, ambassadors and top 
officials. "I'm fighting ... criminals."

Referring to IS militants, whom he called "idiots," he said, "I do 
not burn women because they refuse to have sex."

At least 1,779 drug suspects have been killed in his campaign, 
including 712 who were gunned down in clashes with police, with the 
rest being slain in unclear circumstances, Philippine National Police 
Director General Ronald dela Rosa told a Senate inquiry last week.

At least 3.7 million Filipinos have become addicted to 
methamphetamines, known locally as "shabu," with about 600,000 drug 
users and dealers surrendering to authorities, the President said.

Human rights groups have expressed alarm over the spate of killings, 
and UN-appointed human rights experts have said steps should be taken 
to halt the violence, adding that the government and law enforcers 
could be held responsible.

"Claims to fight the illicit drug trade do not absolve the government 
from its international legal obligations and do not shield state 
actors or others from responsibility for illegal killings," the UN 
special rapporteur on summary executions, Agnes Callamard, said in a 
statement this month.

Mr. Duterte built a name with his deadly crime-busting style as a 
longtime mayor of Davao City. He described his campaign against drugs 
as a harsh war that would involve the military because the problem 
had worsened into a crisis and claimed the lives of law enforcers.
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom