Manila, Jan. 14 -- The Philippine economy's growth is losing steam because of the perennial problems of illegal drugs and communism in the country, President Rodrigo Duterte said on Tuesday.

In a speech delivered in Batangas City, the President admitted that he was having difficulty in improving the country's economy because he was spending most of his time addressing the rampant narcotics trade and the decades-long insurgency.

Duterte said the only way to further boost the economy is to neutralize all the big-time drug offenders, as well as the members of the communist's armed wing, the New People's Army (NPA).

"I cannot improve the standing of our economy if marami akong kalaban, itong mga droga at itong NPA (if we have so many enemies...