In mocking words against the Islamic State, President Duterte suggested that he too could offer virgins to people visiting the Philippines.
Duterte made the statement at a business forum for Indian business leaders on Friday (January 26).
After after declaring himself “half-Muslim”, he suggested in jest that IS did not have a monopoly on making promises about virgins.
“The come-on is that if you die a martyr, you go to heaven with 42 virgins waiting for you. If I could just make it a come-on also for those who’d like to go to my country,” he said.
His remark — referring to the jihadist belief that slain fighters will be met with 72 virgins in heaven — was met with laughter from his audience.
He continued: “They do not have the monopoly of discourse in this field. And I said, one of the most is promising virgins when you go to heaven. I’d like to have the virgins here, not in heaven. God may not allow it.”
President Duterte, a self-confessed womaniser, has frequently been criticised for making sexist and objectifying remarks about women.
In June last year, president joked about congratulating anyone who had the balls to rape a Miss Universe candidate despite knowing the punishment.
And when he was still campaigning for the presidency, he talked about an Australian lay minister rape victim whom he described as beautiful. The then-mayor was heavily denounced for saying that he should “have been first.”
At the height of the fighting in Marawi City, the president told soldiers that he would cover for them, even if they raped up to three women.
Officials of the president’s office usually dismiss such remarks as instances of “sarcasm” or part of the president’s sense of humour. They also point out that he has supported pro-women policies throughout his career.