It is not every day that you see a President who is a killer and proud of it.

Philippine President, Rodrigo Duterte, is fighting a drug war in his country and he is determined to win it.

That efforts always include him boasting about his own brutality, while using abusive language and incendiary comments defending the drug war.

On Thursday, Duterte bragged that he stabbed a person to death as a teenager, in a defiant speech to promote his drug war ahead of a summit of world leaders in Manila.

Speaking to the local Filipino community in the Vietnamese city of Danang on Thursday, Duterte also threatened to slap a UN rights rapporteur if he met her, and used obscene language to hit back at critics of his deadly drugs crackdown.

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"When I was a teenager, I would go in and out of jail. I'd have rumbles here, rumbles there," said Duterte, who is in Danang for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit.

"At the age of 16, I already killed someone. A real person, a rumble, a stabbing. I was just 16 years old. It was just over a look. How much more now that I am president?"

Duterte won last year's presidential elections after promising to eradicate illegal drugs with an unprecedented crackdown that would see up to 100,000 people killed.

Since he took office 16 months ago, police say they have killed 3,967 people in the crackdown. Another 2,290 people were murdered in drug-related crimes, while thousands of other deaths remain unsolved, according to government data.

Surprisingly, Duterte remains popular with many Filipinos who believe he is making the society safer.

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