Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte demanded the execution of drug crimes by lethal injection, in a new effort to reimpose this punishment in his war on drugs that has killed thousands.

In his speech on the "state of the nation" that touched on many issues, Duterte also admitted that the government's response to the Coruna virus was "not perfect", with the total number of infections rising to more than 82,000 and deaths to two thousand.

Duterte was expected to take advantage of his annual speech to urge lawmakers to devise a roadmap for economic recovery after the Philippine economy lost millions of jobs during more than four months of closure, but he provided brief details in this regard.

Anti-terrorism law

Instead, Duterte seized the opportunity once again to push his allies-controlled Congress to reinstate the death penalty, one of his unfulfilled election pledges, and contributed to his victory in the 2016 elections when voters promised to toughen crime control.

The call comes weeks after he signed the anti-terrorism law, which critics and human rights defenders fear will be used to target government opponents.

Last month, the United Nations Human Rights Council called for an independent investigation into the Duterte drug war, which has allowed large-scale organized killings that allow their perpetrators to escape largely impunity.

Butch Olanu, director of the Philippines section at Amnesty International, considered the death penalty not the solution, noting that "the introduction of more severe laws seeking to spread fear among Filipinos" has always been a favorite of the president.

The death penalty remained at the basis of the Philippine Penal Code for 300 years during Spanish colonial rule, but was banned in 1987, to be reinstated after six years before being abolished again in 2006.