According to Philippine police more than 3,500 people - or about 47 per day - have been killed in the past 10 weeks in connection with the illegal drugs trade.

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte speaks during a news conference in Davao city, southern Philippines August 21, 2016
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte speaks during a news conference in Davao city, southern Philippines August 21, 2016

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has said he might extend his war on drugs for six more months.

"I did not realise how severe and how serious the drug menace was in this republic until I became president," Duterte, told media in his southern home city of Davao on Sunday.

"We would need time to put everything in order," he said.

Give me a little extension, maybe of another six months.

Duterte, a former mayor of Davao, took office in May this year after his anti-drug campaign promising to solve the country's drug problem in three to six months.

'I cannot kill them all'

According to Philippine police more than 3,500 people - or about 47 per day - have been killed in the past 10 weeks in connection with the illegal drugs trade.

Nearly two thirds of alleged drug dealers killed by unknown assailants and the rest killed in legitimate police operations targeting a list of people linked to drug trade.

The last list published included military and police officials, lawmakers and judges with alleged connections to drug trade.

A sign reading 'Overkill Justice for Eric' is pictured at the entrance of a street where Eric Quintinita Sison who gunned down by the police in a ‘Meth' operation in Pasay city, Metro Manila in the Philippines August 29, 2016. (Reuters)
A sign reading 'Overkill Justice for Eric' is pictured at the entrance of a street where Eric Quintinita Sison who gunned down by the police in a ‘Meth' operation in Pasay city, Metro Manila in the Philippines August 29, 2016. (Reuters)

But Duterte said that a new not-yet-published list of people also contains names of some government officials such as village chiefs, adding the names in the new list were ‘verified'.

"Even if I wanted to, I cannot kill them all, because the report would be this thick," Duterte said, refering the new alleged drug-dealers list.

Duterte's war on drugs has drawn crticism by rights groups, the European Union and the United States, a former colonial power and ally of the country. They all blame the Philippine President for extrajudicial killings.

In early September, he said plenty would be killed ‘until the last pusher is out of the streets'.

But Duterte defends his campaign as he says it is to prevent the country becoming a ‘narco-state' and denies being part of a death squad.

‘From the looks of it, it's the government already doing the operation (of illegal drugs). They (the foreign critics) just don't realize it because it's not their country,' he said.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies