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Philippines’ President Duterte Threatens ‘Martial Law’

FILE - Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte delivers a speech during the 80th National Bureau of Investigation anniversary, Nov. 14, 2016. On Thursday Duterte said he might withdraw from the International Criminal Court.

The president of the Philippines is threatening martial law for his country.

Speaking to members of the Chamber of Commerce in the southern city of Davao Saturday, Rodrigo Duterte said if the war on drugs descends into something “really, very virulent,” then he would declare martial law.

“No one would be able to stop me,” he said.

He said the aim of such a move would be “to preserve the Filipino people and the youth of this land.”

The controversial president has pledged to wipe out illegal drugs. In the first six months of his drug crackdown, nearly 6,000 people have been killed by police and vigilante squads, drawing criticism from human rights groups, the United Nations and U.S. President Barack Obama. Duterte has vowed to ignore the criticism and continue with the crackdown, and has dared his opponents to remove him from office.

The Philippines endured martial law during the dictatorship of Ferdinand Marcos.

Also Saturday, Duterte said he has ordered his military to “blast” extremists who flee with their kidnapped captives.

“They say, ‘What about the hostage?’ Sorry, collateral damage,” the president said. His advice to potential victims? “So, really, don’t allow yourselves to be kidnapped.”