"You know my victims, I would like to be, all criminals, to finish the problem of my country and save the next generation from perdition," he said.
The comment was a response to critics who have likened him to Hitler. (An estimated 6 million Jewish people were killed in the Holocaust.)
Since Duterte swept to power in July, more than 3,300 Filipinos have been killed, either gunned down by police in late-night drug operations or felled by assassins, often after being named by police.
Victims of the extra-judicial killing spree are drug suspects — or those misidentified as drug suspects —named on police lists and targeted before they are charged or given the chance to stand trial. Often their bodies are dumped by the roadside with signs that read "pusher."
The United States, the United Nations and the European Union have all expressed concern about the conduct of the "war on drugs." When President Obama raised the issue, Duterte lashed out using a slang term that translates as "son of a whore." When the European Parliament issued a statement, Duterte literally gave them the finger.
Duterte cast Friday's comment as a response to European "hypocrisy."
"You close your doors. It's winter time. There are migrants escaping from the Middle East. You allow them to rot and you're worried about the deaths of about 1,000, 2,000 or 3,000?" he said, according to GMA.
Duterte's Hitler comment barely made headlines in the Philippines, where the president's bloody hyperbole has become almost commonplace.
Although Duterte did not seem to be praising Hitler, per se, it's worth noting at least one similarity in how he and the Nazi leader speak about violence.
For Hitler, extermination was the "final solution." Duterte on Friday used the same violently apocalyptic tone, casting his campaign as the only way to "finish the problem" and "save" the nation.