Philippine President Watches as Smuggled Luxury Vehicles Are Crushed

The president of the Philippines, Rodrigo Duterte, was on hand to watch as 68 luxury vehicles and motorcycles were destroyed in northern Philippines on Monday.

The vehicles, which were valued at nearly $5.6 million, were seized by customs after they were smuggled into the country, reports the Daily Mail.

A news release from the government said that the event was a part of Duterte’s instruction to “publicly destroy illegally shipped contrabands in the country’s economic zones aimed at deterring smuggling.”

Duterte, who was elected in 2016, has become infamous for his violent war on drugs in the Philippines. Police have killed more than 4,500 suspected drug dealers since the crackdown began two years ago, reports Reuters.

RTX6CG0K Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte delivers his State of the Nation address in Manila, Philippines, on July 23. Reuters/Czar Dancel

Although human rights groups have condemned his actions, Duterte told the Phillipine Congress in an annual address earlier this month, “Your concern is human rights, mine is human lives.”

Human rights groups have accused the police of not only killing dealers, but also drug users in the country’s most poverty stricken communities, leaving thousands of people dead.

In 2017, the Philippine president also announced that he had a list created that contained the names of 5,000 to 10,000 names of various government workers who he believed were involved in the country’s drug trade. Duterte even threatened to kill those on the list, reports The Independent.

During his address, he vowed that the campaign will continue, saying, “The illegal drugs war will not be sidelined, instead it will be as relentless and chilling, if you will, as on the day it began.”

Duterte was seen cheering during the event, as a bulldozer decimated the collection of vehicles and motorcycles, which included brands such as Mercedes Benz, Lamborghini, Porsche, and Harley Davidson.  

Previously, vehicles that were smuggled into the country were auctioned off by the government, but Duterte has made it clear that things have changed.

This isn’t the first time that Duterte has directed the destruction of luxury vehicles. The Daily Mail reports that in February, a cache of luxury cars was destroyed in Manila, the country’s capital.

The press release from the event stated that in a speech, Duterte “admitted that he could not completely eradicate corruption and smuggling in government but he would want to create an environment where businesses could thrive.”

Earlier this month, the Philippine president caused fresh outrage in his majority Roman Catholic country when he said that he would resign if someone could prove to him that God exists.

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