Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte drew widespread condemnation on Tuesday after he claimed that soldiers should render women rebels “useless” by shooting them in the vagina. Speaking before a crowd that included 200 former rebels last week, Duterte said that he was frustrated that women were eschewing their duty to raise children and instead joining the communist rebel group New People’s Army.
“Tell the soldiers, ‘There’s a new order coming from the mayor,’” said Duterte, referring to his former role as mayor of Davao City. “‘We will not kill you. We will just shoot you in the vagina.’”
Duterte, who allegedly employed extra-judicial death squads to murder suspected drug users and pushers as part of an anti-drug campaign during his mayoral tenure, added that he would pay soldiers $400 for “every NPA you kill.”
Cristina Palabay, secretary-general of Philippine rights group Karapatan, was among the many to denounce Duterte’s comments.
“Duterte has distinguished himself as a frothing-in-the-mouth fascist who incites the worst violations of international humanitarian law,” said Palabay, adding that the President had also told soldiers that he would give them immunity if they committed war crimes against the rebels. “His recent comments and pronouncements are but the latest of the series of these madman’s display of tyranny, lunacy and machismo.”
Carlos Conde, a representative from Human Rights Watch’s Asia Division, also described Duterte’s speech as “just the latest in a series of misogynist, derogatory and demeaning statements he has made about women.”
Among those misogynist comments, no doubt, was Duterte’s 2016 claim that he wished he’d been able to have sex with a “beautiful” Australian missionary who had been raped and killed, as well as a more recent ‘joke’ in which he suggested that Muslim rebels and others should come to the Philippines to enjoy their ‘42 virgins’ rather than waiting for the afterlife.