Gabriela Women’s Party (GWP) Rep. Arlene Brosas on Friday raised an alarm over stories on government troops who threatened to rape women if they don’t leave Marawi City amid President Duterte’s rape joke and with the Mindanao-wide martial law in effect.
“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,” Rep. Brosas said in a forum in Quezon City in time for the first month of the martial law declaration.
“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,” she added.
Brosas visited the evacuation centers as member of the National Interfaith Humanitarian Mission conducted last June 14-15. She, together with other human rights advocates, was denied entry to Marawi City by the military.
“On top of its rights violations with the nonstop aerial bombardment of Marawi, the military is using 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,” the Gabriela lawmaker 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.
Brosas is also among the petitioners urging the high court to nullify Duterte’s martial law declaration in Mindanao.
“We reiterate our call to President Duterte to stop the military’s aerial bombardment of communities, stop tinkering with the plan to carpet-bomb Marawi, lift the martial law declaration, and exact accountability over the massive humanitarian crisis in Mindanao,” she ended. #