Manila: People in the Philippines who shoot dead drug dealers resisting arrest will be given a medal, the country’s president-elect has pledged. Speaking at a victory rally, Rodrigo Duterte said Filipinos who helped him in his war against crime would be rewarded.
The 71-year-old won the 9 May presidential election on a vow to stamp out crime and corruption within six months of coming to office. The commitment struck a chord with voters, but critics have said it will be impossible to achieve.
Human rights watchdogs have also expressed alarm that the anti-crime crackdown risks widespread rights violations.
In a nationally televised speech, Mr Duterte told a huge crowd of celebrating supporters in the southern city of Davao that people could take the law into their own hands.
He said: “Please feel free to call us, the police, or do it yourself if you have the gun, you have my support.” He said a drug dealer who resisted arrest and threatened someone with a gun or knife could be killed with impunity.
“Shoot him and I’ll give you a medal,” he added.
Meanwhile, Mr Duterte has ordered three police generals based in the national police camp in metropolitan Manila to resign for involvement in unspecified crimes.
He threatened to humiliate them in public if they did not quit, and said he would order a review of dismissed criminal cases against police officers to root out criminals.
Mr Duterte, who starts his six-year term on 30 June, also repeated a plan to offer huge bounties to those who turn in drug lords, dead or alive. There is suspicion of his involvement with motorcycle-riding assassins dubbed the “Davao death squads”, which have killed many suspected criminals.
However, human rights watchdogs say he has not been criminally charged because nobody has dared to testify against him.