Philippine International Convention Center, Pasay City
April 23, 2019

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte stressed the Philippines’ need for more driven social and health workers who would alleviate drug addiction in the country, as he graced the opening ceremony of the 7th Union Asia Pacific Regional Conference (APRC) at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC) in Pasay City.

“I hope I’m not berating my country but that is the truth and we have to have pro-active — pro-active social workers or health workers.  And that is why I do not… Maybe the estimated number of addicts could be correct or it could be wrong.  Just like the drug contamination when I became President,” President Duterte stated in his keynote message.

Moreover, he cited that the rebellion by the New People’s Army (NPA) and the Islamic insurgency has long plagued the country.  However, the peace agreement among the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF), and the Government of the Philippines has greatly improved the peace and order situation, especially in Mindanao.

“We are lucky that in the two revolutionary fronts of the MILF and the MNLF, we were able to find a solution to give them what they wanted, for after all, it was just an issue of territory,” the Chief Executive said.  

He also divulged that the involvement of Mexican drug cartels in the illegal drug trade activities had aggravated the drug situation not only within the country, but all over the world.

“During Arroyo’s term, it was by the thousands; Aquino by the millions.  This time with the entry of Sinaloa and the 14K drug of Asia, the drug industry is booming and the problem has become a global concern,” President Duterte said.

“Before I end, in all these wars and all these — do not ever think you criminals, wherever you come from, be it in Mexico or in — do not ever, ever think that you have a monopoly of evil in this world because we are all — it’s an option sometimes one is forced to,” he added.

Prior to his engagement in the APRC’s opening ceremony, the President presided over a situation briefing in Pampanga, one of the provinces heavily struck by a 6.1 magnitude earthquake on April 22, 2019 that resulted in a number of casualties and structural damages in the area.