The Marcos administration should issue an official apology over the Philippine government’s failure to ensure compensation and other assistance to Filipino comfort women who were sexually abused and tortured by the Japanese Imperial Army during World War 2, Gabriela Women’s Party said Friday.
"An official apology from the Marcos Jr. administration should be in order," Gabriela said in a statement.
"Full retroactive compensation and assistance for Filipino comfort women should also be ensured, inasmuch as Filipino male World War II veterans have been receiving indemnity, death pensions, and other benefits for years."
The Philippines was found to have violated the rights of victims of sexual slavery committed by the Japanese Army in World War II by the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW).
In its views after examining the complaint of 24 Filipino women, UN CEDAW said the Philippines breached its obligations under the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women.
"We will file enabling measures in line with the latest UN CEDAW findings and recommendations, as we urge various government instrumentalities to take urgent steps to assist our comfort women in seeking compensation and an apology from the Japanese government," Gabriela said.
UN CEDAW's findings, Gabriela said, is a major and serious indictment of the Philippine government for its supposed failure to assist Filipino comfort women in their struggle for justice, human dignity, and compensation for the horrible crimes committed by the Japanese Imperial Army.
House Assistant Minority Leader Arlene Brosas of Gabriela party-list and her two other colleagues in the Makabayan bloc already filed a resolution urging the Philippine government to demand apology and compensation for our wartime sex slaves from the Japanese government.
"We hope this will be adopted by the House of Representatives to express its sincerity in aiding Filipino comfort women in their struggle for justice," she said.
GMA News Online has reached out to Malacañang for its comment, but it has yet to respond as of posting time.
Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla, meanwhile, 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 in World War II.
Albay Representative Joey Salceda, for his part, agreed with the UN CEDAW's findings that the Philippine government has failed the comfort women.
Salceda said Japan paid an equivalent of 8% of GDP in 1956 to the Philippines in cash and goods as reparations, and another 3.5% of GDP in concessional loans, something that the Philippine government should have long used to compensate the comfort women.
“We clearly squandered our opportunity, and also failed to fully acknowledge the wrongs committed by the Japanese in the Philippines,” Salceda said in a separate statement.
Salceda, however, clarified that it is never too late to provide justice to the Filipino comfort women.
“It is late, but never too late, to correct a historical injustice such as this," he said.
"Still, I wouldn’t call it reparations. After all, the sin of commission still lies with abusers. But it should be a genuine attempt to rectify a historic wrong," he added.
Likewise, Salceda said such steps should not get in the way of the country's bilateral ties with Japan. —KBK, GMA Integrated News