Duterte blames poor eyesight for misreading data on drug users

Published October 27, 2020, 5:58 PM

by Genalyn Kabiling

President Duterte has admitted having difficulty reading small print.

The President has blamed his poor eyesight for incorrectly stating the number of drug users in the country during a recent public address.

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte presides over a meeting with the Inter-Agency Task Force on the Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) core members prior to his talk to the people at the Matina Enclaves in Davao City on October 26, 2020.

Duterte previously announced the 167 million Filipinos are addicted to illegal drugs, which surpassed the country’s population. The drug data actually reads 1.67 million users of the illegal substance.

“I have here so many things to read, ganito ‘yan eh, ‘yung mata ko hindi na masyado maganda. And I read the 168, ang 1.6, may point pala ‘yon. So sabi ko 168, 1.6. Ang 16 akala ko diretso na ‘yon kaya nagkamali ako sa tao na contaminated (I have here so many things to read. My eyesight is not that good anymore. I read 168 the 1.6, it turned out there’s a decimal point there. So I said 168 instead of 1.6. I made a mistake about the number of people contaminated with drugs),” he said a taped address Tuesday. 

Duterte, 75, confessed that he was having a hard time reading smaller print in documents. He said he must move the materials closer so he can better read them.

“Pa-glance-glance lang ako kunwari para sabihin marunong eh nagkakamali (I just take glances so people think i’m knowledgeable but i still make mistakes).  But you know every dog is entitled to one bite,” said Duterte, who at times uses eyeglasses when reading paperwork or from a teleprompter.

Last week, the President said the government is “still in the thick” of the campaign against the illegal drug trade despite the reported reduction in the number of drug users in the country. It was then he made an error about the data on drug addicts.

The Dangerous Drugs Board (DDB) earlier reported that around 1.67 million or two out of 100 Filipinos age 10 to 69 are using illegal drugs in the country. The data was collected from the 2019 national household survey on drug abuse patterns.