“We are at a time when our resolve is being tested by many trials and difficulties. Corruption, criminality, illegal drugs and terrorism have impeded our progress in the past year. However, I remain hopeful that our resilience will enable us to overcome and rise above these challenges as one nation,” the president said in his New Year’s statement released yesterday.
The president said that being with family and loved ones should enable Filipinos to build on the strength of what they have achieved both as individuals and as a community in the past year. “Let us remain determined in achieving our vision of a better and more prosperous future. It is my hope that we foster solidarity as we move forward in our pursuit of providing a more comfortable and productive life for all,” the president said.
At least 3,800 drug personalities were killed in legitimate police operations, according to the government but local and international human rights groups claimed there were 13,000.
The president also declared Martial Law in Mindanao last May 23, amid intense fighting between the Maute group and government troops in a war that lasted for five months and left over 100 soldiers, 47 civilians, and about 800 terrorists dead, as well as 500,000 people displaced.
President Duterte declared Marawi City liberated from terrorists last October 17, a day after Omar Maute and Isnilon Hapilon, considered the top terrorist leaders, were killed by government forces.
Despite the apparent victory, the president still asked Congress for one more year of martial law in Mindanao, which was readily approved.