Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte apologized "profoundly and deeply" to the world's Jewish community Sunday for comparing his war on drug traffickers to the Nazi Holocaust of World War II.
"I would like to make it clear here and now that there was never any intention on my part to derogate the memory of the six million Jews murdered by the Germans," Duterte said at the opening of a festival in the city of Bacolod.
He admitted his comments last week left a "bad taste" in many mouths.
But he said he will not apologize to the critics of his tough and often violent crackdown on suspected drug users, producers and sellers.
His drug war has killed estimated 3,000 people, including many without a trial. Duterte used an expletive against "stupid" European Union lawyers and United Nations human rights officials who have criticized his campaign, and he has threatened to throw them out of the country.
Duterte said Friday "Hitler massacred three-million Jews...there's three million drug addicts. I'd be happy to slaughter them."
Historians say the number of Jews murdered by the Nazis was at least six million.
Duterte's aides say he was angry and reacting to a U.N. official's remark comparing his tactics to those of mass murderers Hitler and Soviet dictator Josef Stalin.
U.S. State Department spokesman Mark Toner called Duterte's remarks "troubling" and a significant departure from the Philippines' tradition of human rights and dignity.