Duterte at a rally. [Cerilo Ebrano/EPA] (Image source: Aljazeera)

The ‘Trump of the East’ has a blunt approach to tackling the issue

Ivana Lucic   19 July 2016 11:36

Brilio.net - There’s one way to get a medal in the Phillipines - kill drug dealers. No, this isn’t an Onion story. The newly elected president of the Southeast Asian country Rodrigo Duterte has not been quiet about his stance. In a nationally televised speech, Duterte told the public to feel free to kill addicts, “Please feel free to call us, the police, or do it yourself if you have the fun, you have my support.”

We’re not the only ones raising our eyebrows. Human Rights Watch has accused Duterte of relying on death squads that murdered at least 1,000 suspected criminals and drug dealers execution-style. While he denies that he ordered the death squads, the 71-year old president and former mayor of crime-ridden Davao City has endorsed them. The bombastic leader is known for his no-nonsense approach to politics. His successful campaign focused heavily on crime, corruption and drug abuse. His pursuit of those vices in Davao earned him the nickname “the Punisher.”

Duterte’s also cracking down on corrupt officials that are suspected of bribing current officers after being dismissed on drug charges: “If you’re still into drugs, I will kill you. Don’t take this as a joke. I am not trying to make you laugh, son of a bitch. I will really kill you.”

While crystal meth, known locally as shabu, is a rampant problem with an alleged 1.7 million users and is present in more than 90% of the capital’s neighborhoods, death squads may not be the most pragmatic answer to the problem.

With another six years in his elected term, Duterte will surely make the news again for his bombastic.

 

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