Filipinos give President Duterte 'excellent' rating for his deadly war on drugs

An artwork featuring the image of President Rodrigo Duterte is seen on a rice paddy in Los Banos city, Laguna province, Philippines on Oct 6, 2016.
An artwork featuring the image of President Rodrigo Duterte is seen on a rice paddy in Los Banos city, Laguna province, Philippines on Oct 6, 2016.PHOTO: REUTERS

MANILA (Reuters) - Filipinos gave President Rodrigo Duterte an "excellent" rating for his war on drugs, an opinion poll showed on Friday (Oct 7), but there was clear unease over the deadly campaign as most respondents said it was important to arrest suspects alive.

Some 84 per cent of 1,200 respondents surveyed by the Social Weather Stations (SWS) pollsters said they were satisfied, or moderately satisfied, with the President's anti-narcotics campaign.

Of the 84 per cent that said they were satisfied with the President's anti-narcotics campaign, 54 per cent were "very satisfied" and 30 per cent were "somewhat satisfied". Only 8 per cent of those polled were dissatisfied and the remaining 8 per cent were undecided.

Responses to another question, however, showed the vast majority had qualms about killings of suspects in the drug trade.

Ninety-four per cent said it was important for the police to take suspects alive, while about 6 per cent to 7 per cent said it did not matter.

Mr Duterte on Friday said he did not care much for ratings or polls and was just doing his job. "I don't need that," he said in a speech. "It is not a self derogating thing, how do you rate yourself?"

Since Mr Duterte took power on June 30, promising to eradicate the scourge of drugs from the Philippines, more than 3,600 people have been killed.

Western governments and human rights groups have expressed concern and called for thorough investigations into the deaths, some expressing alarm over the numbers killed. They have incurred Mr Duterte's wrath for doing so.

Most of the 1,377 people shot by the police were listed drug suspects, according to national police chief Ronald Dela Rosa. Human rights activists suspect the remaining 2,294 victims were mostly killed by vigilantes.

Mr Duterte has assured police officers that they will not go to jail for killing a suspected drug trader provided they were killed in a legitimate operations and their lives were in danger.

The poll on the anti-narcotics campaign came a day a separate SWS survey showed only 11 per cent of Filipinos were dissatisfied with Mr Duterte's performance in his first 90 days in office.