Travel websites will begin charging customers for airline tickets in the Philippines
The travel industry is struggling in the country as the government struggles to stem a surging drug trade and as its economy has struggled to recover from the devastating floods.
But with its economy in shambles and its economy ailing, President Rodrigo Duterte is promising to get the Philippines back on track with a bold policy agenda.
“It’s a miracle that we have such good economic growth,” Duterte said Thursday during a visit to the Philippines.
“But the problem is not that the economy is bad, but the fact that we are importing drugs.
If the drugs can be smuggled through the porous mountains, we can’t control the flow of drugs.”
While he did not mention the country’s drug problem by name, the Philippines has long been considered a hub for drug shipments.
And Duterte has blamed the drug trade on a network of organized crime groups.
The Philippines has the largest number of heroin, cocaine, and methamphetamine addicts in the world, according to the World Health Organization.
It has also the largest drug smuggling industry in the region, according the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.
Duterte said the drug crisis has become “a nightmare for our country.”
“The fact is, the drug menace is not an isolated phenomenon, it’s a global problem,” he said.
“The drugs are smuggled all over the world.
It’s an international problem.”
Duterte also said he wants to boost police and military presence in the nation, saying police and soldiers need to be trained.
He said he’s also committed to tackling the drug problem in the military.
“We need more soldiers to protect us and our people,” he told a crowd in Manila.
“If you see our soldiers in uniform, you can be sure they are doing their duty.”
Dutertes government has long struggled with the drug war, but this is the first time it’s addressed the problem in such a comprehensive way.
He has also promised to bring back a moratorium on executions, which had been suspended under a 2012 Supreme Court ruling.
“I want to send a message that this country, this democracy, is ready to accept the responsibility and the responsibilities of dealing with the crisis,” he promised.
He added that he wants the Philippine government to pay a huge price for the drug epidemic, noting that he has already imposed a one-time $50 million tax on the drug money.