President Duterte yesterday apologized to the Jewish community for his controversial Hitler remark that drew widespread condemnation.
Speaking at the opening of the 37th Masskara Festival in Bacolod City, the Chief Executive said he never intended to offend the Jewish community.
“There was never an intention on my part to derogate the memory of the six million Jews murdered by the Germans,” Duterte said.
He explained that he was only reacting to criticisms comparing him to the Nazi leader Adolf Hitler.
“Ang reference kasi sa akin nila na ako daw si Hitler, na marami pinatay. So ang number kasi ng drug pushers as I have told you is three million kaya sinabi ko sige si Hitler ako pero ang patayin ko itong mga addicts,” Duterte said.
According to the President, while his statement has nothing to do with the Jews, he is aware that they (Jewish community) “do not really want you to tinker with the memory.”
“So I apologize profoundly and deeply to the Jewish community. It was never my intention,” he said.
In an early morning press conference upon his arrival from Vietnam Friday, the President lashed out at unnamed critics who, he said, have pictured him to be a cousin of Hitler and have likened his bloody war against drugs to genocide without bothering to investigate.
“Hitler massacred three million Jews. Now there is three million, there’s three million drug addicts. There are. I’d be happy to slaughter them. At least if Germany had Hitler, the Philippines would have you know… my victims, I would like to be, all criminals to finish the problem of my country and save the next generation from perdition,” he said.
Jewish groups expressed shock and anger and demanded an apology.
The German government criticized Duterte’s statement comparing his war on drugs to Hitler’s efforts to exterminate Jews.
“Any comparison of the singular atrocities of the Holocaust with anything else is totally unacceptable,” said German foreign ministry spokesman Martin Schaefer. (Elena L. Aben)