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Palace, DND: Alleged rape threats on Marawi women enemy ‘propaganda’

Rosette Adel - Philstar.com
Palace, DND: Alleged rape threats on Marawi women enemy âpropagandaâ

Displaced Marawi city residents rest on tarpaulin and corrugated boxes at an evacuation center in Saguiaran township, near the besieged city of Marawi, Lanao del Sur province Sunday, May 28, 2017 in southern Philippines. Tens of thousands of residents are now housed in different evacuation centers as government troops fight to wrest control of the southern city from gunmen linked to the Islamic State group. AP /Bullit Marquez

MANILA, Philippines — The Malacañang and the Department of National Defense on Tuesday dismissed the alleged rape threats by government forces on Marawi women as “propaganda” of the enemy.

“We find incredulous statements accusing our men in uniform of alleged rape threats on Marawi women,” presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella quoted Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana’s statement.

“Accusations of alleged threats purportedly encouraged by the president’s remark are part of the propaganda used by the enemy to win sympathy among the people of Marawi and for the government to fail in its mission,” Lorenzana added.

READ: Duterte tells troops in jest: I will answer for your rape cases

Gabriela Women’s Party last week filed House Resolution 1085 seeking an inquiry into the Marawi crisis which included accounts of women who received rape threats from soldiers.

Gabriela Rep. Arlene Brosas said rape threats by members of the military to women in Marawi City should be a basis for a deeper probe and should not be set aside.

The Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police, however, denied the allegations.

“With the way the AFP responds to allegations of rape threats, women have more reasons to fear soldiers. AFP cannot expect Maranao women to just step forward regarding rape threats. It's a very sensitive issue,” Brosas said in a radio interview with dzMM.

“The AFP has a long record of abuses against women. This is why we take the reports [on] rape threats very seriously,” she added.

'No reported rape cases'

In a separate press conference, an official from the PNP reiterated that there were no reported rape cases from officers on the ground and other officials in Marawi.

“[As] per inquiry from the women and children protection desk officers who are manning the evacuation centers, there [were] no reported rape cases. And yet, we are still verifying the veracity of the complaints and on the other side, we are welcoming any complaint if ever,” a PNP official said.

The PNP added that it even inquired traditional Maranao leaders to verify such allegations but no rape cases were reported.

The Palace said the DND advised the public to not be fooled by “dubious claims” on rape threats and instead have confidence in our government forces.

“Our troops, and I think we should have this, are risking their life and limb to rescue trapped civilians and liberate Marawi from the hands of forces,” Abella said.

“And I think it’s about time really that we should gain confidence and pride in our government forces,” he concluded.

The DND earlier denied the rape threat allegations describing it as fake news.

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