Philippine president Rodrigo Duterte on Friday likened his deadly crime war to Hitler’s efforts to exterminate Jews, as he declared he was ‘happy to slaughter’ millions of drug addicts.
Duterte also railed against Western critics of his unprecedented law-and-order crackdown, which has left more than 3,000 people dead in three months and raised concerns about a breakdown in the rule of law in one of Asia’s most chaotic democracies.
‘Hitler massacred three million Jews. Now there are three million drug addicts (in the Philippines). I’d be happy to slaughter them,’ Duterte told reporters in his home city of Davao shortly after returning from Vietnam.
‘At least if Germany had Hitler, the Philippines would have,’ he said, then paused. ‘But you know, my victims, I would like to be (sic) all criminals to finish the problem of my country and save the next generation from perdition.’
Duterte, 71, won elections in May in a landslide after a campaign dominated by his pledge to eradicate drugs in society by killing tens of thousands of people.
The lawyer and former city prosecutor promised immunity for security forces if they were charged with murder, and on his first day in office urged residents of a Manila slum to kill drug addicts within their own community.
His police chief also urged addicts to burn down the homes of drug traffickers and kill them.
Since Duterte came to power on June 30, police have killed more than 1,200 people and about 1,800 others have died in unexplained circumstances, according to official figures.
A piece of cardboard, with ‘drug peddler’ or ‘drug addict’ written on it, is frequently placed on corpses that are left on the streets. This has led to the war on crime becoming known as ‘cardboard justice’.
Duterte has faced a barrage of criticism from Western governments and rights groups, but he has reacted defiantly and often with abusive language while insisting he is not doing anything illegal.
Duterte has branded US president Barack Obama a ‘son of a whore’, called UN chief Ban Ki-moon a ‘fool’ and said ‘fuck you’ to the European Union while raising his middle finger.
His analogy with Adolf Hitler, whose campaign to wipe out Jews in Europe led to about six million deaths by the end of World War II, triggered more condemnation.