clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte just threatened to eat ISIS militants

“I will eat your liver.”

Duterte stands at a podium with the Filipino flag in the background.
Filipino President Rodrigo Duterte.

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte just threatened to eat ISIS militants.

“I will eat your liver if you want me to,” he ranted. “Give me salt and vinegar and I will eat it in front of you.”

According to the South China Morning Post, on Wednesday night Duterte directed the threat at Abu Sayyaf, an ISIS-affiliated group with a stronghold in the southern island of Mindanao, after the group beheaded two Vietnamese sailors. The sailors’ bodies were recovered on the island on Wednesday.

Duterte was on the island when that news broke, and he proceeded to give an impassioned speech before local officials. “I eat everything. I am not picky. I eat even what cannot be swallowed,” he said.

Known for launching a bloody war on drugs that has killed more than 7,000 people, Duterte has made outrageous comments in the past. He has bragged about personally executing people, compared himself to Hitler, and once called Barack Obama “a son of a whore.”

Recently, Duterte has been struggling with the growing presence of ISIS-affiliated militants in his country. The fight against Abu Sayyaf has become one of the biggest crises in his presidency, and his latest comments show just how frustrated he’s become.

Since May, Abu Sayyaf has taken over a significant portion of Marawi, the largest Muslim-majority city in the predominantly Catholic Philippines. Fighting in the city has already claimed more than 400 lives, and 260,000 residents have been displaced, according to Reuters.

The Philippine military is using extreme measures to fight back. It has been conducting airstrikes against Abu Sayyaf, sometimes bombing Marawi at least twice a day, which has destroyed huge swaths of the city. Duterte has publicly said that he will not negotiate with the militants, whom he calls “terrorists.”

American troops are even on the ground providing assistance (but not yet engaging in combat), even after Duterte said he wanted Americans out of the country.

There’s no end in sight for fighting in Marawi, but if Abu Sayyaf continues to maintain a stronghold in the city, we can expect more intense comments from Duterte.

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for Vox Recommends

Get curated picks of the best Vox journalism to read, watch, and listen to every week, from our editors.