The Philippines' President-elect Rodrigo Duterte has encouraged the public to go after drug dealers, urging citizens with guns to shoot and kill them. 

In a nationally televised speech late on Saturday, Duterte, who will be sworn in on June 30, told a huge crowd in the southern city of Davao that he will offer huge bounties to those who turn in drug lords - dead or alive.

"Please feel free to call us, the police, or do it yourself if you have the gun - you have my support," Duterte said.

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If a drug dealer resists arrest or refuses to be brought to a police station and threatens a citizen with a gun or a knife, "you can kill him", Duterte said.

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"Shoot him and I'll give you a medal."

He also said  that drug addicts could not be rehabilitated and warned, "If you are involved in drugs, I will kill you. You son of a whore, I will really kill you."

'A bloody war'

Duterte, who won the May 9 vote, based his successful election campaign strategy on a pledge to end crime within three to six months of being elected.

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Speaking on Saturday, he reiterated that his anti-crime campaign would be "a bloody war" and would large sums of money for slain drug lords. 

"I will pay, for a drug lord: five million [pesos] ($107,000) if he is dead. If he is alive, only 4.999 million," he laughed.

He did not say how a private citizen could identify suspects.

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The 71-year-old has been previously accused of running vigilante "death squads" during his more than two decades as mayor of Davao, a city of about two million people that he says he has turned into one of the nations safest.

Human rights watchdogs have expressed alarm that Duterte's anti-crime drive may lead to widespread rights violations.

Duterte and other Filipino officials have previously brushed aside warnings from human rights groups about the dangers of "vigilante justice".

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Source: Agencies