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DND chief on rape threats in Marawi: Fake news

The Philippine Star
DND chief on rape threats in Marawi: Fake news

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana yesterday denounced reports that women in Marawi are scared after government soldiers reportedly threatened to rape them. AP Photo/Aaron Favila, File

MANILA, Philippines - Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana yesterday denounced reports that women in Marawi are scared after government soldiers reportedly threatened to rape them.

The reports were allegedly circulated by left-leaning groups.

“While the nation continues to suffer from the havoc wrought by the rebellion in Marawi and other atrocities committed in various parts of Mindanao, some factions obviously have a lot of time to spend on matters other than helping improve the situation,” Lorenzana said.

The defense chief questioned the motive and credibility of these groups for coming up with what he described as fake news.

Lorenzana clarified that soldiers and police officers were sent to Marawi to fight the terrorists, who want to destroy the city and harm people.

 “Our soldiers have undergone a series of gender sensitivity trainings under our 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 said 70 soldiers and police officers have died defending Marawi and its people from the terrorists.

“More are wounded and in need of medical attention,” he added.

Lorenzana said purveyors of these false reports only exposed their motive, which is for the government to fail in the fight against terrorism.

 “Aren’t these same groups who tolerate the atrocities committed by their colleagues in the CPP-NPA? The same groups who forget that their communist-terrorist colleagues continue to loot, murder, rape and destroy private and public properties in the countryside,” he said, referring to the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army.

Lorenzana dared the people behind the false report to present evidence and file a complaint before the proper authorities.

He said Filipinos nowadays are more discerning and they trust the military.

Meanwhile, Supt. Dionardo Carlos, spokesman for the Philippine National Police (PNP), reiterated Lorenzana’s challenge against purveyors of the rape allegation.

Carlos assured the public that the PNP would not tolerate any wrongdoing and abuse committed by police officers.

Earlier, Gabriela Women’s Party Rep. Arlene Brosas expressed alarm over stories that government troops reportedly threatened to rape women who refused to leave Marawi.? “I personally heard the story from women who sought refuge in evacuation centers in Lanao del Norte and Lanao del Sur,” Brosas said in a forum in Quezon City on Friday. “These are alarming accounts, which prove that martial law and the President’s rape remarks have actually emboldened the soldiers to threaten the women. We fear that there are actual victims of rape and we encourage them to speak out and seek justice,” she said.

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