Duterte vows to continue war on drugs despite criticism

Global Business

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte presents the 2018 proposed national budget beside Senate President Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III, left, and Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez after his second State of the Nation Address at the House of Representatives in suburban Quezon city, north of Manila, Philippines on Monday July 24, 2017. (AP Photo/Aaron Favila)

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte delivered his annual State of the Nation address on Monday.

In two hours of remarks, Duterte said the economy can only thrive with peace and order. He also offered an extensive rebuttal to critics of his crackdown on illegal drug use.

CGTN’s Jessica Stone reports.

Philippines’ President Rodrigo Duterte made it clear he’s still a leader when it comes to peace and order in his country. He used most of his second State of the Nation address before Congress to justify his violent campaign against illegal drugs.

Outside the speech venue, thousands of protesters gathered in the street, pressing their president to make good on promises such as faster Internet speed and holding peace talks with Communist insurgents.

Duterte – known for using colorful language – justified the extension of martial law in the southern city of Marawi. He said it’s necessary to crush the insurgency, but critics say it’s a power grab.

The region is also home to Muslim rebels seeking independence.

“Neither will I be mobilized into inaction by the fear that I will commit an act that will expose me to public condemnation or legal prosecution,” Duterte said.

Duterte touched briefly on competing territorial claims regarding the South China or as the Philippines calls part of it, the West Philippine Sea. Since taking office, he has sought a closer relationship with Beijing and did not push China to comply with last summer’s tribunal ruling — which favored the Philippines.

Despite an increase in unemployment throughout the country from 5.7 percent to 6.6 percent, Duterte did not announce any policies to address the problem. Instead he called on mining companies and contractors to refrain from: “irresponsible destruction of our natural resources”

Mike Hawkins explains the state of the Philippines economy

For a closer look at the Philippine economy CGTN’s Rachelle Akuffo spoke to Mike Hawkins, a professor at Creighton University.