The Philippine government yesterday hailed its war on drugs a "success", as police confirmed killing nearly 200 people in a two-month blitz that has outraged rights groups.
President Rodrigo Duterte's office released a statement calling for authorities to "seize the momentum" of the anti-drug campaign, which has also led to a spate of vigilante killings that one media group said had claimed roughly 200 more lives.
"Anti-drug campaign a success," said the title of the statement, released by presidential spokesman Martin Andanar.
"While the campaign against drugs is far from perfect, a generation of Filipinos have been saved from this scourge of society and destroyer of lives."
His statement was issued as the national police released figures showing that officers had killed at least 192 people they said were involved in drugs from May 10 to July 10.
Duterte won the May 9 elections in a landslide after campaigning largely on a platform to eradicate crime within six months by unleashing security forces with shoot-to-kill orders.
He vowed on one occasion during the campaign that 100,000 people would die, and so many bodies would be dumped in Manila Bay that the fish there would grow fat from feeding on them.