Former ExxonMobil executive Rex Tillerson testifies during his confirmation hearing for secretary of state before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Capitol Hill on January 11, 2017.
PHOTO: SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty
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Inmates sleep on the ground of an open basketball court inside the Quezon City jail at night in Manila in this picture taken on July 21, 2016.
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PHOTO: NOEL CELIS/AFP/AFP/Getty Images
Inmates sleep on the ground of an open basketball court inside the Quezon City jail at night in Manila in this picture taken on July 21, 2016. There are 3,800 inmates at the jail, which was built six decades ago to house 800, and they engage in a relentless contest for space. Men take turns to sleep on the cracked cement floor of an open-air basketball court, the steps of staircases, underneath beds and hammocks made out of old blankets. / AFP / NOEL CELIS / TO GO WITH AFP STORY: Philippines-politics-crime-jails, FOCUS by Ayee Macaraig (Photo credit should read NOEL CELIS/AFP/Getty Images)
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This combination image of two photographs taken on September 5, 2016 shows, at left, US President Barack Obama speaking during a press conference following the conclusion of the G20 summit in Hangzhou, China, and at right, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte speaking during a press conference in Davao City, the Philippines, prior to his departure for Laos to attend the ASEAN summit. 

US President Barack Obama on September 5 called a planned meeting with Rodrigo Duterte into question after the Philippine leader launched a foul-mouthed tirade against him.
 / AFP / Saul LOEB AND MANMAN DEJETO        (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB,MANMAN DEJETO/AFP/Getty Images)
PHOTO: SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images
This combination image of two photographs taken on September 5, 2016 shows, at left, US President Barack Obama speaking during a press conference following the conclusion of the G20 summit in Hangzhou, China, and at right, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte speaking during a press conference in Davao City, the Philippines, prior to his departure for Laos to attend the ASEAN summit. US President Barack Obama on September 5 called a planned meeting with Rodrigo Duterte into question after the Philippine leader launched a foul-mouthed tirade against him. / AFP / Saul LOEB AND MANMAN DEJETO (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB,MANMAN DEJETO/AFP/Getty Images)
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Philippines' president-elect Rodrigo Duterte speaks during a press conference in Davao City, in southern island of Mindanao on May 26, 2016. 
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PHOTO: MANMAN DEJETO/AFP/Getty Images
Philippines' president-elect Rodrigo Duterte speaks during a press conference in Davao City, in southern island of Mindanao on May 26, 2016. Explosive incoming Philippine president Rodrigo Duterte has launched a series of obscenity-filled attacks on the Catholic Church, branding local bishops corrupt "sons of whores" who are to be blamed for the nation's fast-growing population. / AFP / MANMAN DEJETO (Photo credit should read MANMAN DEJETO/AFP/Getty Images)
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(CNN) —  

US Secretary of State Nominee Rex Tillerson says that the country will preserve its “longstanding friendship” with the Philippines, despite the violent anti-drug campaign of leader Rodrigo Duterte.

During Tillerson’s Senate Foreign Relations Committee confirmation hearing on Wednesday, Senator Marco Rubio asked Tillerson whether the killings in the Philippines were “conducive to human rights violations that we should be concerned about and condemning.”

Tillerson said he’d need further “facts from the ground” before commenting.

Since Duterte took power in June, he’s waged a bloody so-called “war on drugs,” in which he’s encouraged police and vigilantes to shoot drug dealers and users.

More than 6,000 people have been killed, including a six-year-old Manila boy who was shot in his sleep last month.

Human rights advocates have condemned the campaign, as has the Obama administration. However, Duterte said in a call last month that President-elect Donald Trump told him he was going about the drugs war “in the right way.”

Since coming to power, Duterte has tested the country’s relationship with the US – at one point announcing a military and economic “separation” – but then announcing he could work with the US now that Trump was in charge.

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President Duterte: 5 outrageous quotes

Despite the surge in violence, Duterte is popular in the Philippines, with approval ratings over 70% reported at the end of last month.

On Wednesday, he again vowed to diplomats that he would continue to end drugs, corruption, and criminality as part of a “sacred” promise, according to CNN Philippines.

Duterte has said he will not stop the crackdown until every last drug-related drug criminal is dead.