President Duterte to extend Philippine drug war by six months as he 'cannot kill them all'

Duterte says launching the crackdown was like letting "a worm out of the can".

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte will extend his war on drugs for six more months as he believes that too many people are involved in the illegal narcotics trade and he "cannot kill them all".

Duterte won the May elections in a landslide victory on a vow to kill tens of thousands of criminals and to get rid of illegal drugs in the country in six months. Since then almost 3,000 people have been killed in the campaign against illegal narcotics trade.

However, the police have claimed that they have killed 1,105 drug suspects in slightly more than two months since Duterte came to power.

They also said around 2,035 of those people have been murdered by unknown assailants while the rest were "deaths under investigation".

"I did not realise how severe and how serious the drug menace was in this republic until I became president," Duterte told AFP on late Sunday in Davao.

He said launching this crackdown was like letting "a worm out of the can". Duterte wanted "a little extension of maybe another six months" to try and finish the job that he promised.

Referring to a new police list of involved people in the drugs trade, he said: "Even if I wanted to I cannot kill them all because the last report would be this thick."

Earlier, Duterte publicly identified 160 officials, police and judges in a name-and-shame campaign and warned them to surrender themselves or face the consequences.

This crackdown has drawn severe criticism from the United States, the European Union parliament and the United Nations over what they say are extrajudicial killings.

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.

"You must be respectful. Do not just throw questions," Duterte said of Obama.

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

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