Close to 78% of Filipinos have said they fear that they might be targeted in President Rodrigo Duterte's bloody campaign against illegal drugs and become a victim of extrajudicial killings, an opinion poll has found.
While eight out of 10 Filipinos worry about the killings, around 85% of them have given an "excellent" rating to Duterte's campaign, Social Weather Stations (SWS), an independent pollster has revealed.
The firebrand Duterte, who is dubbed as 'punisher', has been at the receiving end of severe criticisms from various international organisations and leaders, including the UN human rights experts over his anti-narcotics operations in the Philippines, which has reportedly killed over 3,000 people in the past five months.
The SWS poll was conducted between 3 and 6 December where 1,500 Filipinos across the country were interviewed face-to-face and the results were posted online on Monday (19 December).
Despite fearing they or someone they know might get killed, the respondents of the survey said they would staunchly support Duterte's anti-drug war. Only 8% of Filipinos said they were dissatisfied with the president's work on the issue, while 85% opined satisfaction, giving Duterte an "excellent" mark. The survey is believed to have a margin of error of plus or minus 3%.
"I am not surprised with the conundrum that people acknowledge that the anti-drug campaign is fitting, so they allow it. But they would like less killings," Reuters cited Ramon Casiple, executive director of the Institute for Political and Electoral Reform, as saying.
The survey also found that 71% of the respondents felt it was crucial to keep alive those who are caught dealing with illegal drug use or trafficking. Around 88% also believe Duterte's handling of the issue has helped in bringing down the drug problems in the country.
The opinion poll results have come days after Duterte admitted he personally killed alleged criminals when he was mayor of southern Davao City.
However, Martin Andanar, Duterte's communication secretary, ruled out that the killings as part of the president's campaign were not state-sponsored.