Duterte warns terrorists he can be '10 times' more brutal than Isis

By Kristine Guerra

Human rights activists light candles for the victims of extra-judicial killings around the country in the wake of the 'War on Drugs' campaign by Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte. Photo / AP
Human rights activists light candles for the victims of extra-judicial killings around the country in the wake of the 'War on Drugs' campaign by Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte. Photo / AP

In a speech in which he denounced Isis for its "barbaric practice," Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte gave a stern warning to the extremist group, saying he can be "10 times" more brutal.

Duterte delivered the speech at the Malacanang Palace in Manila, a few days after he claimed that Isis followers posing as missionaries have already started radicalising Filipinos in Mindanao, the southern island of the Philippines.

He did not elaborate on that claim.

The controversial Filipino leader, whose crackdown on his country's longstanding drug problems involved killing hundreds of suspected drug dealers, told soldiers during a speech last week in Mindanao's province of Zamboanga del Sur that in "three to seven years," the country will be plagued with "the Isis disease".

"They are not armed, but they are here for indoctrination," Duterte said, according to the Philippine Inquirer.

"That's what I'm afraid of."

During his speech yesterday, Duterte said the terrorist group does have not any political ideology and does not have "any concept of what God really is".

"You maim people, you kill them," Duterte said. "People who refuse to have sex with them, they simply burn them."

He also warned that confronting the terrorist group will "bring the worst out of me," adding that he will never allow his country to be destroyed by terrorism, even if it meant being forced out of office.

"If you can do it, I can do it 10 times better than you, definitely," Duterte said. "I'll put at stake my honour, my life, and the presidency."

Last week, Reuters reported that a 20-minute video showed Southeast Asian militants who claimed to be Isis (Islamic State) fighters urging Muslims to unite under Abu Abdullah, leader of the Philippine militant group Abu Sayyaf.

"If you cannot go to [Syria], join up and go to the Philippines," a man identified as Mohd Rafi Udin, a Malaysian militant, said in Malay.

The Philippines' tough-talking leader drew international scorn in April when the then-presidential hopeful made remarks about an Australian missionary who was raped and murdered in Davao City jail in 1989, when Duterte was the city's mayor.

Duterte said that the woman was "so beautiful" that he, as the mayor, should've been first, according to CNN. The 71-year-old President refused to apologise for the comments.

Duterte's brash talks also earned him the reputation as Asia's Donald Trump.

During his campaign for president and again after his election in May, the former prosecutor nicknamed "The Punisher," said that journalists killed on the job were corrupt and they deserved it.

He also advocated for extrajudicial killings of criminals, saying members of the public can kill them if they resist or threaten citizens with weapons.

"Shoot him and I'll give you a medal," Duterte said.

If you can do it, I can do it 10 times better than you, definitely. I'll put at stake my honour, my life, and the presidency
Rodrigo Duterte

More recently, Duterte used a homophobic slur in describing Philip Goldberg, the US Ambassador to the Philippines, as well as calling him a "son of a whore".

Duterte's tough talk became more than just words shortly after he began his presidency.

His war on drugs has so far left more than 700 people killed in confrontations with police, while the number of arrests reached more than 7600 in July.

"My order is shoot to kill you. I don't care about human rights, you better believe me," Duterte said this month.

The killings alarmed human rights groups and prompted protests from left-wing activists. The head of the Senate's committee of justice and human rights also said that an investigation into the killings will begin next week.

Duterte's war on drugs also is likely to worsen the country's problem with jail overcrowding "as hundreds of thousands of new detainees are crammed into detention facilities," Carlos Conde, a researcher for Human Rights Watch's Asia division, told the Washington Post.

Conde said the country's jail system already does not have adequate resources to handle detainees, the majority of whom are facing drug charges and are being held without bail as they awaited trial - and that's even before Duterte's proposed "war on terror" begins.

- Washington Post

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