MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte on Sunday apologized to the Jewish community after he compared his war on drugs to that of Adolf Hitler killing the Jews during the Second World War.
In a speech during the opening ceremony of the 37th Masskara Festival in Bacolod City, Duterte said he never intended to offend the Jewish community, adding that he was merely reacting to those comparing him to Hitler.
"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 by the Germans," Duterte said, explaining that his statement was in response to critics who have been comparing him to Hitler.
Duterte also said that although his comment had nothing to do with the Jews, he understands that it was a painful memory for the Jewish community.
"It's not actually that I said something wrong, but rather, I do not really want to tinker with the memory. Alam natin 'yan. So I apologize, profoundly and deeply, to the Jewish (community). It was never my intention but the problem was I was criticized using Hitler comparing to me. But I was very emphatic, sabi ko ang patayin ko, three million addict. It had nothing to do (with the Jews)," he said.
Duterte, however, reiterated that he was only apologizing to the Jewish community, and not to others who are criticizing his war on drugs.
"There was something really, a bad taste in the mouth, to say it. Pero 'yung Jewish community lang. Itong mga bobong abogado sa EU, pati sa human rights, ah, screw you. Sipain ko pa kayo," he said.
Duterte earlier said he'd be happy to slaughter three million drug addicts. "Hitler massacred 3 million Jews. There are 3 million drug addicts. I'd be happy to slaughter them," he said in a press conference following his arrival from an official visit to Vietnam Friday.
His comments triggered shock and anger among Jewish groups in the United States, adding to pressure on the U.S. government to take a tougher line with the Philippines leader.