Philippines foreign minister asks other countries not to interfere in Duterte's drugs war

Yasay says Duterte won "an unprecedented and resounding electoral mandate" and had to deliver a change.

Philippines Foreign Minister Perfecto Yasay told the United Nations on Saturday that president, Rodrigo Duterte had an "unprecedented" command to free the nation from illegal drugs trade and corruption and the world should not interfere in his crackdown on crime.

Yasay, while addressing the annual UN General Assembly, said: "the Duterte government was determined to free the Philippines from corrupt and other stagnating practices, including the manufacture, distribution and use of illicit drugs."

"Our actions, however, have grabbed both the national headlines and international attention for all the wrong reasons," Yasay told Reuters.

"We urge everyone to allow us to deal with our domestic challenges in order to achieve our national goals without undue interference," he added.

Nearly 3,500 people have been killed in Philippines in the campaign against illegal drugs trade since Duterte won the May elections in a landslide victory and came to power.

Before becoming the President, Duterte vowed to kill tens of thousands of criminals and to get rid of illegal drugs in the country in six months. However, recently he asked for some more time to complete his crackdown.

Referring to his promise, Duterte said last week: "I did not realise how severe and how serious the drug menace was in this republic until I became president."

Duterte had to face a lot of criticism from the United States, the European Union parliament and the United Nations over what they say are extrajudicial killings. But he rejected all the criticism and responded back at them in an angry manner.

He burst into a rant against the European Union (EU) members after they called for a halt to the drug killing campaign. But, again on Thursday, the Philippine leader invited UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and the European Union to come to investigate his crackdown.

Yasay said Duterte had won "an unprecedented and resounding electoral mandate" and now enjoyed a 92 percent approval rating. In such a case, he had to deliver on a "sacred" call to bring a change.

"To him, this trust is sacrosanct. It cannot be breached, under no circumstance must it be compromised," Yasay said.

Duterte, who is known for his expletive-laced speeches, have amused many Filipinos with his defiance of high-profile organisations and his insults of anyone from US President Barack Obama to the Pope.

But at the same time, this behavior of Duterte worried foreign governments including the United States, who thinks Manila as a vital partner in Asia "in the face of a rising China".

Yasay added that the core values which are enshrined in the Philippine constitution include the mandate "to pursue an independent foreign policy, to promote the national interest."

He also said Manila would remain "a responsible partner of the international community" and will also be committed to the rule of law including the arbitrational court ruling that rejected China's over competing claims in the South China Sea and ruled in favour the Philippines.

Yasay said: "Our domestic concerns compel us to partner with like-minded countries in the areas of maritime security, counter-terrorism, disaster response, and transnational crime."