MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte increased the bounty he offered for killing communist rebels from the original P20,000 to P25,000, saying it would be “cheaper” than waging a counterinsurgency campaign.
Speaking Tuesday at the oath-taking of newly appointed officials in Malacañang, Duterte also reiterated that he has no intention of ending his controversial war on drugs, which has been marked by thousands of deaths he stands accused of instigating, and for which the International Criminal Court has announced it is opening a preliminary examination into the possibility of his committing a crime against humanity.
Duterte told the new officials he reckoned it would cost billions over at least four years to wage a campaign against the communists.
“Then I made a counteroffer,” he said. “If you’re a CAFGU (Citizens Armed Forces Geographical Unit) or anybody here, you kill one NPA (New People’s Army member) and I will pay you P25,000. Kwenta-kwenta ko, mas makamura ako. “Bilhin ko na lang itong mga yawa na ito. (I calculated it, I would be saving money. I might as well buy these devils).”
“Bakit ako matakot sa kanila? May Navy ako, may Air Force ako, may sundalo ako, may CAFGU ako, may Army ako (Why should I be afraid of them? I have a Navy, I have an Air Force, I have soldiers, I have CAFGU, I have an Army),” he added.
During a recent speech to more than 200 former rebels, also in the Palace, Duterte also stirred controversy and outrage when he suggested soldiers shoot female rebels “in their vaginas.”
On the war against drugs, Duterte reiterated his resolve to “face the ICC” and his wish to be put before a firing squad if found guilty of crimes against humanity so he could emulate national hero Jose Rizal.
“Don’t worry about me, I can face the ICC,” he said. “If they want to indict me, fine!”
“I would love to experience what Rizal has experienced,” he added.