Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte on Friday mocked the Islamic State terrorist group’s recruitment promises and joked that he would like to lure tourists to his country with virgins.
“The come-on is that if you die a martyr, you go to heaven with 42 virgins waiting for you,” Duterte told businessmen at the the Philippines-India Business Forum in New Delhi. “If I could just make it a come-on also for those who’d like to go to my country,” he said. The president was referring to the jihadist belief that slain fighters will be met with 72 virgins in heaven.
Claiming he is half-Muslim, Duterte said the Islamic State does not have monopoly of discourse in such a field. “One of the [promises] is virgins when you go to heaven. I’d like to have the virgins here, not in heaven,” the president said. “But God may not allow it.”
This is, however, not the first time the president has made such statements. He is known to make comments that objectify women or normalise rape. In June 2017, he had joked about congratulating anyone who had the courage to rape the Miss Universe.
In May 2017, he had told some soldiers that they could rape up to three women. In June 2016, he had wolf-whistled at a journalist on live TV. He had also described a woman who was raped and killed in 1989 as “beautiful”, and said that he should have been her first.
Many Filipinos on social media criticised their president for his “twisted” comments. Here are some of the reactions: