Duterte rebukes EU for ‘idiotic’ drug rehab solution

Rodrigo Duterte
Rodrigo Duterte

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte hit out at the EU on Friday for hypocrisy after its lawmakers issued a resolution calling for restraint and a rethink in his bloody war on drugs.

Duterte castigated the EU for urging him to focus his campaign on drugs rehabilitation and stood by his security-centered approach to a crackdown that has left thousands of people dead since he took office nine months ago.

He turned angry during a speech to Chinese businessmen, where he praised China for its no-strings-attached loans and aid and said he did not need the EU, or “idiotic” rehabilitation programs that failed to stop addicts committing robbery, rape and murder.

“So we’re getting a relief now from our hardships because a lot of (Chinese) money is coming in. The EU, they communicated to us, and they want a health-based solution for the drugs,” he said.

The EU’s rehabilitation approach, he said, entailed administering drugs like cocaine, marijuana and heroin.

“They want us to build clinics, then instead of arresting, putting them in prisons, just like in other countries, you go there and if you want shabu, they will inject you and give you shabu and you go out,” he said, referring to the methamphetamine used in the Philippines.

“Our people will just go there and consume every chemical until kingdom come, until they are crazy… who will answer for these?“

China said on Friday it was in touch with the Philippines about the possible visit of a Chinese naval ship to the country.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said that military exchanges between the two countries were an important part of their relations.

“Following the improvement in bilateral relations, China is willing to willing to strengthen exchanges and cooperation with the Philippines in the relevant area,” Hua told a daily news briefing, when asked if the Chinese navy would visit.

EU lawmakers last week condemned the “many extrajudicial killings” taking place in the Philippines and said the sources of illegal drugs should be targeted, not the consumer. Duterte’s aides accused the EU of meddling.

Communist rebels to revive cease-fire

The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) said on Saturday that its armed units will declare a unilateral cease-fire no later than March 31, ahead of the resumption of peace talks with the government next month.

The CPP, who’s armed wing, the New People’s Army, has fought a nearly five-decade-long insurgency, expects that the Philippine government will declare a similar unilateral cease-fire as part of an agreement reached during backchannel talks from March 10 to 11, the group said in a statement.

Negotiators from both sides agreed on March 12 to resume formal peace negotiations in The Netherlands from April 2 to 6, a month after an angry Duterte canceled talks after the rebels ambushed soldiers after unilaterally ending a previous cease-fire.

Duterte, in an interview on Saturday with reporters in Bukidnon province in the southern Philippines, said he would consult with the country’s political and security leaders “whether or not it would be good at this time” to resume the government’s unilateral cease-fire.

“I have to consult the (House) Speaker, I have to consult the Senate President, I have to convene the National Security Council, and I have to ask the generals of the army and the police,” he said.

Kidnapped ship captain rescued

Philippine soldiers on Saturday rescued one of two Filipino cargo ship crewmen taken captive just two days ago by suspected Abu Sayyaf militants, a security official said.

The troops recovered Aurelio Agacac, the ship captain, in the remote village of Basakan in the southern Philippine province of Basilan, said Col. Juvymax Uy, commander of the military’s 104th Brigade and Joint Task Force Basilan.

The kidnappers took Agacac and his companion Laurencio Tiro captive from a cargo ship off Basilan on Thursday, only hours after soldiers rescued two Malaysians held for about eight months on a southern island.

Uy said the abductors were forced to abandon Agacac to delay the pursuing troops and evade a firefight.

“The victim looked alright,” he told reporters.

Uy said the soldiers had also captured a wounded suspect during the pursuit who died while being transported to the hospital in Basilan.

Uy did not confirm that the kidnappers were Abu Sayyaf members.


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