MANILA (Reuters) - Filipinos gave President Rodrigo Duterte an “excellent” rating for his war on drugs, an opinion poll showed on Friday, but there was clear unease over the deadly campaign as most respondents said it was important to arrest suspects alive.
Some 84 percent 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.
Since 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 Duterte’s wrath for doing so.
Most of the 1,377 people shot by 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.
Of the 84 percent that said they were satisfied with the president’s anti-narcotics campaign, 54 percent were “very satisfied” and 30 percent were “somewhat satisfied”. Only eight percent of those polled were dissatisfied and the remaining eight percent were undecided.
Responses to another question, however, showed the vast majority had qualms about killings of suspects in the drug trade.
Ninety-four percent said it was important for the police to take suspects alive, while about 6-7 percent said it did not matter.
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 percent of Filipinos were dissatisfied with Duterte’s performance in his first 90 days in office.
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?”
Editing by Martin Petty and Simon Cameron-Moore