Women's rights groups have slammed Filipino President Rodrigo Duterte for commenting that he would offer "42 virgins" to attract tourists to his country.
The Filipino leader made the derogatory comment at a meeting with Indian and Filipino businessmen on the last day of his trip to India, where he referred to Muslim extremists, who according to him, can lure followers with the promise of "42 virgins" in heaven.
Duterte said he would do the same to lure tourists to the Philippines.
"I'd like to have the virgins here, not in the heaven," he said during the gathering.
Akbayan Women, a women's activist group called Duterte an "international embarrassment," Rappler reported.
"Duterte dismisses Filipinas as mere goods for trade, that women are just sights for tourists," said Akbayan Women. "This insults millions of women who work hard to build our nation with honor only to be represented as virgin fodder for tourists by the President himself. This insults millions of overseas Filipino workers who have created a name in Filipino workmanship abroad," the group said in a statement.
They also said that his "deep hate" towards women "manifests in his repeated cycles of sexism."
"We deserve a president who can represent Filipinos: men, women and LGBT alike abroad. We deserve a president who has a regard for women's rights and dignity," the Akbayan Women's rights group said, according to Rappler. "He has no respect for Filipino women."
Duterte was attending a regional Association of Southeast Asian Nations, ASEAN meeting, and India's Republic Day (Jan. 26), a day marked by ceremonious parades in the capital to celebrate the adoption of the Indian constitution.
Duterte also said that the Indian businessmen should "avoid Mindanao," the southern Philippine island, stating "there's still martial law there," as armed Muslim rebels continue to battle government forces.