Philippines: President Duterte to invite UN, EU to investigate drug trade killings

Duterte says strong measures are necessary to prevent the Philippines from becoming a "narco-state".

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said on Thursday that he will invite UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and EU officials to investigate the killings in the crackdown on the illegal narcotics trade that has alarmed the human rights groups within the country and abroad.

Almost 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.

According to the local police, nearly two-thirds have been murdered by unknown assailants while the rest have been killed in legitimate police operations termed as "deaths under investigation".

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

However, 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.

On Tuesday, he burst into a rant against the European Union (EU) members after they called for a halt to the drug killing campaign.

Duterte rejected the criticism, calling US President Barack Obama a "son of a whore" and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon a "fool", and vowed to continue his campaign.

But later, he expressed his regrets for his foul-mouthed rant against the US President.

Duterte argued that these strong measures are necessary in order to prevent the country from becoming a "narco-state".

He promised that during the campaign, which is proving hugely popular domestically and boosting his poll ratings, 100,000 people would be killed during his crackdown. He also added that so many bodies would be dumped in Manila Bay that fish would grow fat from feeding on them.

Duterte offered bonuses to the security officials for the bodies of drug dealers and has repeatedly enforced protection for police from prosecution over the killings.