International rights group Human Rights Watch (HRW) slammed President Rodrigo Duterte’s “old drug war rhetoric” in his ultimate State of the Nation Address (SONA) days after the Philippines signed a deal with the United Nations to address the country’s human rights abuses.

During his SONA, the chief executive touted his accomplishments in his “war on drugs”, much to the dismay of the HRW and other rights defenders.

Duterte claimed that his drug war “led to the surrender of millions of drug dependents and neutralization, capture, and prosecution of thousands of drug personalities.”

He also ordered authorities to shoot communists dead, just two days after the Philippines and the United Nations (UN) launched a joint program on human rights.

In a statement, Carlos Conde, HRW Senior Philippine Researcher, decried the president’s “tired, old rhetoric” as the Philippine leader insists on enforcing his “murderous” policies.

“By doubling down on his murderous policy, he is revealing his government’s lack of commitment to the UN program his government just announced. The true test of the administration’s sincerity will be its willingness to end state-sanctioned killings and uphold its international human rights obligations”, said Conde.

Conde added that the Duterte administration “can start by supporting genuine accountability and by cooperating with the ICC investigation.”

HRW data claims that over 12,000 Filipinos have died due to President Duterte’s “war on drugs” since taking office in June 2016. Zeus Legaspi