Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana blasted some groups alleging that soldiers threatened to rape women in evacuation centers in Marawi City.
“I question the motives and credibility of certain leftist groups and individuals in coming up with a dubious report that Marawi women residents allegedly fear that they will be raped by soldiers in the ongoing military operations in Marawi City,” Lorenzana, said in a statement.
He was reacting to allegations of Rep. Arlene Brosas of Gabriela party-list that some women in evacuation centers in Lanao del Sur and Lanao del Norte claimed that military troops threatened female evacuees of rape.
Brosas said President Rodrigo Duterte’s declaration of martial law in Mindanao and his rape remarks “have actually emboldened the military to dangle rape threats against women in Marawi City.”
“We fear that there are actual victims of rape and we encourage them to speak out and seek justice,” she said.
The Makabayan bloc in the House of Representatives filed House Resolution 1085 directing the House Committee on Human Rights to look into the alleged rights violations committed by the military including rape threats to women.
Lorenzana said members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines attended a series of gender and sensitivity trainings under the Departmen of National defense’s Gender and Development program.
“These trainings focus on participation, empowerment, equity, respect for human rights, freedom from violence, and actualization of fullest human potential not just of soldiers but the communities where these soldiers operate as well,” he said.
He lamented that allegations of soldiers’ abuses exposed “obvious ulterior motives.”
“Aren’t these groups the same groups who conveniently forget that their communist-terrorists colleagues continue to loot, murder, rape, and destroy private and public properties in the countryside?” he said.
Lorenzana dared these critics to file a complaint before proper authorities.
“The public knows that they can trust the Armed Forces, and this can be seen in surveys. If this ideology negate these groups from supporting the soldiers, I hope they will find conscience for the sake of our Maranao brothers,” he added. DEMPSEY REYES