Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte Aaron Favila/ AFP/GETTY

Controversial Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte instructed soldiers to shoot female rebels in their genitals last week, according to local outlets.

The president, known for terse and violent language, addressed a group former rebels Feb. 7. Official transcripts scrubbed the speech of the word “vagina,” replacing it with a dash. Duterte, a former mayor of Davao City, told the men that the women would be useless without their vaginas.

“Tell the soldiers: ‘There’s a new order coming from the mayor. We won’t kill you. We will just shoot your vagina.’ If there is no vagina, it would be useless,” said Duterte.

Duterte is no stranger to violent language — he came power with the campaign promise of killing all drug dealers. Duterte has also made a variety of rape jokes in the past. Last month Duterte made another controversial statement, saying he would offer 42 virgins to in order to attract tourism to the Philippines.

The latest remark, his spokesperson said was a joke. The official transcript notes that the audience laughed.

“You know, sometimes, these feminists are really a bit [overreacting] I mean, that’s funny. Come on. Just laugh,” said presidential spokesperson Harry Roque in a video posted to social media.

Roque went on to say that the president’s humor makes him “lovable.”

“In the Philippines, even if we are in despair, even if we are like hopeless, instead of crying, we laugh … And that’s why people identify with his humor,” said Roque. “He is so lovable because sometimes he’s so funny.”

Many weren’t pleased with the comments, however.

“Duterte's latest nasty remark openly encourages violence against women, contributes to the impunity on such, and further presented himself as the epitome of misogyny and fascism terribly rolled in one,” said Philippine congresswoman Emmi de Jesus in a statement.

The Human Rights Watch also denounced the statement.

Since becoming president in 2016, Duterte has presided over a bloody war on drugs, with thousands of a people killed by police. Last week the International Criminal Court announced it would open an investigation into Duterte and the Philippine government for possible crimes against humanity for the violent drug crackdown.

This story has been updated to include more information about Duterte's past comments.