MANILA, Aug. 15 (Xinhua) — Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte vowed on Monday to be doubly harsh on corrupt government officials and criminals in the coming days, saying he is fed up with reports that some government offices continue to be riddled with corruption.
"I would be very, maybe harsh, double the word, in the coming days because it seems that my appeal that this would be a clean government is not registering at all, in the grey matter between the ears of some people in government," Duterte said in a speech before newly appointed government officials at the presidential palace.
"I think there is a need really to purge," he said.
"I do not want to transgress civil service laws; I do not want to ignore due process, which I loathe to do," he added.
Duterte lamented that corrupt government employees and officials are hindering the administration's anti-corruption drive.
"It seems it is difficult to weed out crooks in government. Corruption is so chronic in this country that you need another generation of workers to do the job," he said.
Indeed, he said corruption remains a "perennial problem" in the Philippines. "It's still there and I still have to show tomboy the list of the rest of the scallywags in government. More judges, more policemen mainly and some politicians," he said.
Aside from corruption, Duterte stressed the need to crash the illegal drug problem head-on in the country "because if do not interdict this problem now in this generation, we will have a hard time after six years."
He said the drug menace in the country was "ignored" by the previous administrations. "(I have to pay attention to this now.) It was not until after I became president (that I realized the gravity of the illegal drugs problem facing the country)," he said, adding, "I was appalled by the number of addicts in this country. "
He said his administration has so far recorded 600,000 drug users and pushers who "surrendered" to the government.
"But two years ago, the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency said there are about two million drug addicts in this country. And considering the length of time, there must have been some incremental increase. It's really a pandemic thing. It is not an epidemic; it;s a crisis pestering the country," Duterte said.
He said he is unfazed by criticisms hurled at him by his detractors who think his anti-drug campaign is becoming too violent and bloody with the number of suspected criminal killed steadily rising.
"I might come out as a villain with stained hands, maybe soaked with blood but there is no way to stop it now," Duterte said. "There can be no stopping of the momentum until I have destroyed the apparatus."