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‘Encouraged by Duterte rape joke, soldiers threatening women with rape in Marawi’

Gabriela has expressed deep concern over reports that government troops had supposedly threatened women with rape if they did not leave Marawi City.

In a news release posted on Friday, Gabriela party-list Rep. Arlene Brosas said she personally heard the alarming tales of women during her visit in evacuation centers.

“I have personally heard the stories of women who sought refuge in evacuation centers in Lanao del Norte and Lanao del Sur after government troops threatened to rape them, as encouraged by no less than President Duterte in his public remarks,” Brosas said.

“These are alarming accounts which prove that the martial law and President’s 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,” Brosas added.

GMA News Online is still seeking comment from Malacañang and Camp Aguinaldo.

President Rodrigo Duterte weeks ago said he was standing by the soldiers in Mindanao as they implemented martial law in southern Philippines.

He said he would take responsibility even if they committed rape.

The lawmaker pointed out that the military could have used rape threats "as tool of war, coercion and harassment against women."

"Any sign of safety is elusive for the women particularly in Marawi City with terrorists still on the loose and with soldiers eager to rape them,” Brosas said.

“Women and children are made more vulnerable to harassment and other forms of abuses as they are cramped in evacuation centers with no sufficient facilities and without support services,” she added.

Gabriela, together with other Makabayan party-lists, have filed House Resolution 1085 directing the House Committee on Human Rights to investigate the plight of displaced civilians in Marawi City and to look into the rights violations committed by the military. —NB, GMA News