Rodrigo Duterte makes a familiar gesture to the European Union last month. Source: YouTube
The Philippine’s president, Rodrigo Duterte, does not see himself as another Adolf Hitler but is willing to kill three million people to battle crime, according to his spokesman.
Duterte has been condemned for likening his anti-drugs crackdown, which has left more than 3,000 dead, to Nazi’s Jewish Holocaust.
“We do not wish to diminish the profound loss of six million Jews in the Holocaust,” presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella announced in a statement.
“The president’s reference to the slaughter was an oblique deflection of the way he has been pictured as a mass murderer, a Hitler, a label he rejects,” Abella, who has one the world’s more challenging roles, said.
Nevertheless, Abella confirmed Duterte had intended to say he wished to kill millions of Filipinos to achieve his aim of eradicating illegal drugs.
“Duterte was referencing to his ‘willingness to kill’ 3 million criminal drug dealers, to save the future of the next generation and the country,” the spokesman said.
A leading US diplomat is cautioning Duterte against more anti-US posturing.
“I think it would be a serious mistake in a democratic country like the Philippines to underestimate the power of the public’s affinity for the US. That’s people power,” Assistant Secretary of State Daniel Russel told AP.
On Friday Duterte said: “There are three million drug addicts. I’d be happy to slaughter them.
“At least if Germany had Hitler, the Philippines would have …,” Duterte said, before pausing. “But you know, my victims, I would like to be all criminals to finish the problem of my country and save the next generation from perdition.”
A UN representative, Germany and Jewish groups quickly condemned Duterte’s remarks.
The UN special adviser on the prevention of genocide, Adama Dieng, warned that Duterte might be in danger of committing crimes against humanity.
The UN asked Duterte to “exercise restraint in the use of language that could ‘exacerbate discrimination, hostility and violence and encourage the commission of criminal acts which, if widespread or systematic, could amount to crimes against humanity”.
Duterte, 71, has said the Philippines is in danger of becoming a narco-state.
Since he came to power on June 30, the police claim to have killed more than 1,200 people and about 1,800 others have died in unexplained circumstances, according to the government.
Duterte should probably stop giving press conferences. Since coming to office he has branded US President Barack Obama a “son of a whore”, called UN chief Ban Ki-moon a “fool” and said “f*ck you” to the European Union, while raising his middle finger to cameras.