TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has announced monetary awards and a free trip to Hong Kong for police officers that kill drug-trafficking bosses.
The president said in a speech on Nov. 6 that drugs and drug-related crimes have become a national security issue in the Philippines, and the military may be needed to assist police with crackdowns in the future.
Rodrigo Duterte has become notorious for his “War on Drugs” policy since it was implemented after he took office in June 2016. The president encourages members of the public to kill suspected criminals and addicts, which has led to thousands of extrajudicial murders over the past two years.
Duterte’s presidency has been characterized by increasingly erratic and paranoid behavior. In August, he accused several nations of tapping his phone calls, suggesting the U.S. CIA was plotting to assassinate him. Duterte has also offered bounties to citizens who kill communist rebels to save on anti-insurgency costs, encouraging them to shoot female insurgents in the genitals.
In a seminar on drugs and militarization on Tuesday (Nov. 6), Duterte said he would reward the police officer who shot and killed Santiago Rapiz, an officer accused of stealing drugs recovered during a crackdown operation.
Before his murder, Rapiz had been on the government’s “ninja cop” watchlist for some time; a term used to describe police officers suspected in the recycling or reselling of confiscated drugs. Reports say Rapiz drew a gun and fired at operatives, who then shot back and killed him as he tried to flee.
Duterte has said in the past that any operative who kills a drug-trafficking colleague will receive a reward of 2 million pesos (NT$1.2 million).
In his speech on Tuesday, the president stressed, “Drug traffickers will be killed. Do not destroy my country. Do not ruin our children, because I really will kill you.” He also added that many of the country’s police officers are “stupid” and said his military will be requested to cooperate on future operations.