Philippines’ President under fire for comparing his attack on drug abusers to Hitler’s massacre of Jews.
Rodrigo Duterte, president of Philippines, is under critic’s fire. This time, he has been criticized heavily for comparing his massive crackdown on Filipino drug abusers to how Hitler massacred Jews in Germany. Already slammed for what has been called a rather 'brutal' attack on Philippines’ drug problem, President Duterte's comments have raised fresh controversies against him.
The president was quick to apologize for his remarks. Duterte, in a speech on television, said “I would like to make it now, here and now, that there was never an intention on my part to derogate the memory of the six million Jews murdered.” He openly apologized “profoundly and deeply to the Jewish community … it was never my intention, but the problem was I was criticized, using Hitler comparing to me.”
Nicknamed “the Punisher” for his tough stance against drug abusers, and claims to have been called “a cousin of Hitler” as well. Duterte said, he wasn't very upset because he has absolutely no hesitation about wanting to completely eliminate the estimated 3 million drug users in the Philippines. On Friday he said he would “be happy to slaughter” all drug abusers in the Philippines, just like how Hitler massacred the Jews. The German Government and the World Jewish Congress were especially critical of his remarks.
So far, Duterte's massive offensive against drugs has resulted in more than 3,000 deaths. The deaths include drug users, dealers, and even law-enforcement officials who died in cross-fires with drug lords. His rhetoric against drugs has been crucial in bringing him to power in a country where citizens are plagued with drug issues. Defending himself, he said, Hitler killed innocent people, he was eliminating “criminals” from the Philippines.
Duterte's move was challenged by President Obama, Ban-Ki-Moon of United Nations and many human rights groups as well. However, Duterte challenged all of them and criticized them for supporting drug abuse. Though the president is facing tough criticism from foreign nations, especially the U.S.A., his actions have been praised by the Filipinos. In response to the criticism he received from the American Government, he said that he is not afraid and that he is ready to break ties with the U.S. and become allies of China and Russia instead.
On Tuesday, Duterte went to a synagogue in Manila to personally apologize for his “terribly wrong” comparison.
“I mentioned the word Jewish and that was what was terribly wrong and for that I apologize, but I’m not one of the racist members of this republic,” Duterte said.