Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte has been in power for just three months and has already attracted a huge amount of attention for his brutal approach to drug dealers. Now he's openly comparing himself to Hitler and saying he would be "happy to slaughter" the country's estimated 3 million drug addicts.
Speaking at a press conference in his hometown of Davao, where, as mayor, he honed his ruthless approach to crime fighting, Duterte said, "If Germany had Hitler, the Philippines would have…," and then he pointed at himself.
Continuing, the president said: "Hitler massacred 3 million Jews. Now … there's 3 million drug addicts [in the Philippines]. There are. I'd be happy to slaughter them."
At least 6 million Jews were massacred by Hitler and the Nazis during the Holocaust. Germany's foreign ministry has condemned the comments. "It is impossible to make any comparison to the unique atrocities of the Shoah and Holocaust," spokesman Martin Schaefer said.
While the comparison to Hitler will clearly shock many, Duterte's assertion that he wants to eradicate drug addicts will not surprise those who've followed his career. Following an election campaign where he said there would be "no such thing as bloodless cleansing," Duterte kept his word.
According to the Kill List maintained by the The Philippine Daily Inquirer, 1,166 drug dealers have been killed since Duterte took office on June 30. The list is "an attempt to document the names and other particulars of the casualties in the Duterte administration's war on crime" and is updated twice a week, said the report.
However, it's believed that as many as 2,000 more people have been killed in this period by vigilante groups who claim to be answering Duterte's call to help him kill drug dealers.
Duterte's tactics have drawn harsh criticism from the U.S., Europe and the UN, but he seems unfazed by them: The president said last week that he would welcome an investigation by the EU and the UN.