President Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines gained a reputation as a tough lawmaker when he served as mayor of Davao City for two decades. In fact, Duterte’s achievement in his city served as the centerpiece of his presidential campaign. Duterte officially started his stint as President of the Philippines last June 30.
During Duterte’s term as mayor of Davao City in Southern Philippines, he implemented the notorious “Davao Death Squadrons,” vigilantes who hunted down criminals and drug dealers. Between 1998 and 2005, at least 300 people were reportedly killed by these “death squadrons.”
Duterte made it clear early on that he would wage an all-out war against drug peddlers and addicts once he becomes President. He warned everyone involved in illegal substances that cops wouldn’t hesitate to shoot them. In one of his speeches, he remarked, “My God, I hate drugs. And I have to kill people because I hate drugs.”
Photo: Official Gazette
President Rodrigo Duterte made it clear he won’t tolerate drug pushers or users.
During a press conference on May 31, Duterte called for citizens to take the law into their own hands, and kill drug dealers themselves.
“If one of them lives next to you, please call us or the police, and if you have weapons — just kill them themselves… Kill a drug dealer and I’ll give you a medal,” he has been quoted as saying.
Duterte has vowed to wage a “bloody war” against illegal drugs and since his election win in May, over a hundred suspects have been killed, purportedly for attacking arresting officers.
As it turns out, Duterte’s fierce threats have done their magic. In just his first week in office, thousands of drug pushers and junkies have surrendered. They didn’t have to be arrested. Fearing for their lives, they themselves went to the authorities and voluntarily surrendered. They were all repentant and ready to quit drugs and lead a new life.
In a span of days, thousands have surrendered out of fear of getting killed.
In fact, just days before Duterte took his oath of office on June 30, drug peddlers and addicts started surrendering to the authorities. For instance, over 700 self-confessed illegal substance pushers and junkies surrendered in Quezon City, which is located in the nation’s capital region.
Photo: Bonna Pamplona, ABS-CBN News
Record-breaking surrender: 4,000 people turn themselves in!
Photo: Norman Mendoza
Drug pushers and addicts in other areas followed suit.
In Cebu, 84 people turned themselves in. In Bonuan Gueset, Dagupan city, over 500 surrendered. However, the record number, so far, belongs to Tagum City, Davao del Norte — with 4,000 people surrendering.
Drug offenders continue to turn themselves up to policemen and local government officials nationwide.
In the island of Samar, more and more drug personalities are turning themselves in.
Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Ronald dela Rosa himself said they didn’t expect so many drug pushers and users to surrender. “We didn’t expect the influx of people who surrendered,” he admitted.
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Moreover, $20 million worth of narcotics have been seized in the administration’s crackdown on drugs.
In any case, many of those who surrendered reasoned that they came forward because they feared Duterte’s wrath. That said, the “surrender craze” is unprecedented in Philippine history. Clearly, Duterte’s tough reputation is working to his advantage.