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Duterte Draws Fire for Crude Threat to Female Rebels in Philippines

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President Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines in Manila this month. He expressed exasperation that some women preferred joining the New People’s Army, a communist rebel force that has been waging an insurgency since 1969, to raising children.

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Ted Aljibe/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

MANILA — President Rodrigo Duterte, the Philippine strongman who has earned a reputation for dirty tactics and language, was criticized on Monday for having boasted that he had ordered soldiers to shoot female communist guerrillas in the genitals.

“Tell the soldiers, ‘There’s a new order coming from the mayor,’ ” the president said in a speech, recalling a directive he said he had given when he was mayor of Davao City. “ ‘We will not kill you. We will just shoot you in the vagina.’ ”

Mr. Duterte made the remarks in a speech to former rebels last week, but the comments went largely unreported because he was speaking in his native Visayan language. He expressed exasperation that some women preferred joining the New People’s Army, a communist rebel force that has been waging an insurgency since 1969, to raising children.

Since Mr. Duterte’s remarks began circulating more widely, the criticism of his choice of words has been fierce.

It “is just the latest in a series of misogynist, derogatory and demeaning statements he has made about women,” said Carlos H. Conde, the Philippines researcher for Human Rights Watch. “It encourages state forces to commit sexual violence during armed conflict, which is a violation of international humanitarian law.”

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