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by Xave Gregorio

President Rodrigo Duterte said his strongman rule is necessary for the progress of the country and admitted that he is a “dictator.”

Speaking to former Communist rebels on Wednesday (February 7) in Malacañang, he also said he is insulted when protesters call him “a dictator, fascist, this and that, [puppet of] U.S.”

“If you say dictator, I will be dictator. Because if I will not be a dictator, nothing will happen to this country,” Duterte said in Bisaya, as translated by the Presidential News Desk.

“I had to. Besides you have chosen me as your President. Why won’t you follow me when my dreams are all for you?” he said.

Duterte had earlier told the military to “shoot” him if he extends his term and becomes a dictator.

But he also called himself a dictator during the 2016 presidential campaign, bringing the promise of eradicating drugs and crime when he gets elected.