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DOJ seeks legislation for ‘comfort women'

Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla on Friday said he will hold a dialogue with the Senate and House of Representatives for the passage of necessary legislation to indemnify victims of sexual slavery committed by the Japanese Army during World War II.

“We will have to talk to Congress, to the House Speaker, and to the Senate President about the legislation necessary to act on this matter about comfort women kasi hindi tayo nakapag-pass ng (because we have yet to pass) legislation,” Remulla said in an ambush interview.

“Hindi natapos ‘yung trabaho before so we have to continue doing the job. Kasi that’s part of the international obligations that we have,” he added.

This came following the findings of a United Nations committee that the Philippines violated the rights of comfort women by "failing to provide reparation, social support and recognition commensurate with the harm suffered."

The UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) recommended that the complainants receive from the State party "full reparation, including recognition and redress, an official apology and material and moral damages."

Remulla also hoped they could address this soon, saying he did not want justice to be delayed.

“That’s history and something that is common, most known to us. And ang sense naman diyan syempre, you never want justice to be too late kasi ilan na lang ang nabubuhay sa kanila. Kaya sana mahabol pa natin,” he said.

(That’s history and something that is common, most known to us. And the sense is, of course, you never want justice to be too late because there are only some of them still alive. That’s why I hope we can catch this up.)

The Justice secretary said he had a meeting with President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. on Monday when asked if he had talked to the President about the issue. 

In a separate ambush interview, Remulla said the Justice Department formed a “study group” led by Justice Undersecretary Raul Vasquez.

Remulla said that a thorough analysis of the proposed policy for adoption by the agency will be carried out by the group.

“Kasi nga sabi natin aanohin mo ang damo kung patay na ang kabayo? Para naman at least kung kaya pang habulin yung tulong ihabol natin,” he said.

(As we often say, what will you do with the grass when the horse is dead? If we can still offer help, we should offer it.)

“Personally I think that money is a small sum to pay for a grievous injury suffered by a person. Money can never replace what happened to them." —AOL/VBL, GMA Integrated News