Shoot female rebels 'in the vagina': Robert Duterte

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

"There's a new order coming from the mayor, 'We will not kill you. We will just shoot your vagina, '" he said. In the speech, the President said, "Soldiers should shoot women rebels in their vaginas because, without their vagina, they are totally useless".

On Wednesday, Harry Roque, Duterte's spokesperson, defended the president's string of sexist comments, saying critics should lighten up.

"Duterte's latest nasty remark openly encourages violence against women, contributes to the impunity on such, and further confirms himself as the most risky macho-fascist in the government right now", she said in a statement.

Duterte's spokesman responded to the latest incident by saying the president's comments were "funny", but human-rights agencies have harshly criticized the "misogynist, derogatory and demeaning statements". He said the president had repeatedly proven that welfare of women was a priority for Duterte.

He seemed to encourage the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) to target women during conflict.

Duterte claimed in November 2017 that he had killed someone in a stabbing by the time he was 16-years-old, but his aides have claimed that he is prone to "hyperboles".

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Duterte, who was elected president in 2016, has made headlines for "joking" about the rape of a kidnapped Australian and for telling troops to rape women in conflict. But the President said he did not mind being indicted and imprisoned by the International Criminal Court as long as it allows conjugal visits by more than one woman.

It was not the first time Duterte's comments have angered women's groups.

"I was angry because she was raped". Yes, that's one. But, she was so handsome, the mayor should have been first.

"You know, sometimes, these feminists are really a bit [overreacting] I mean, that's amusing".

Roque said that the Philippine mission in The Hague was informed by the ICC's prosecutor office that the court is "opening preliminary investigation on the alleged acts associated in the campaign against illegal drugs covering the period of July 2016". "I mean, that's amusing".

According to official data, no fewer than 3,987 people were killed in police operations against drug suspects between July 2016 and January 17.

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