• The Philippines' firebrand president has made numerous misogynistic remarks, including rape jokes.
  • "Latest comment further confirms Duterte is the most dangerous macho-fascist in government", activists warned.

The Philippines' president, Rodrigo Duterte, has once again sparked controversy with a violent, misogynistic comment about female rebels. President Duterte urged Philippine soldiers last week to shoot female rebels in their vaginas

"Tell the soldiers: 'There's a new order coming from the mayor. We won't kill you. We will just shoot your vagina,'" Duterte said during a speech to the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) on 7 February.

"If there is no vagina, it would be useless," he added, appearing to suggest that women's genitals are what makes them useful, local media reported.

The controversial comment was included in an official transcript of the speech released by the Presidential Communications Office. The word "vagina" was replaced with a dash in the transcript.

Duterte has made numerous misogynistic comments since becoming president in June 2016. Last summer, his rape joke about Miss Universe was widely condemned.

"What I don't like are kids [being raped]," he said. "You can mess with, maybe a Miss Universe. Maybe I will even congratulate you for having the balls to rape somebody when you know you are going to die."

He also told Muslim fighters in Marawi that they could rape up to three women without fear of punishment.

In the run-up to the presidential election, Duterte sparked outrage by saying that he, as mayor of Davao, "should have been first" to rape an Australian missionary in jail in 1989.

"I was angry because she was raped, that's one thing. But she was so beautiful, the mayor should have been first. What a waste," he said.

Women's rights activists condemned Duterte's latest violent remark. "Duterte's latest nasty remark openly encourages violence against women, contributes to the impunity on such, and further confirms himself as the most dangerous macho-fascist in the government right now," Gabriela Women's Group wrote on Facebook.

"He is pushing the fascist AFP to commit more bloody human rights violations and grave abuses of international humanitarian law, and takes state terrorism against women and the people to a whole new level," the group said.

Human Rights Watch researcher Caloy Conde said in a statement that Duterte's remark was "the latest in a series of misogynist, derogatory and demeaning statements he has made about women."

"It encourages state forces to commit sexual violence during armed conflict, which is a violation of international humanitarian law," he said.

Rodrigo Duterte
Rodrigo Duterte told Philippine soldiers to shoot female rebels in their vaginas. Erik De Castro/Reuters