25 October 2016 - Gabriela partylist solons asked President Rodrigo Duterte to take the opportunity opened by his three-day state visit to Japan in helping fulfill the demands of the wartime sex slaves known as comfort women.
Rep. Emmi De Jesus said that Duterte must express his strong-willed drive for independent foreign policy by asserting the legitimate demand to address neglected issues left by the Japanese invasion of Asia just as the Philippines leader repeatedly recalled the atrocities committed by American forces in the past century of occupation.
“President Duterte needs to include the comfort women’s issues in his one-on-one meeting with Shinzo Abe. We can only move forward and move on if the Japanese prime minister himself issues a formal, official apology instead of the personal and unofficial apologies and half-hearted monetary private reparations that many of their representatives keep offering,” De Jesus began.
Fellow solon Rep. Arlene Brosas explained that their partylist is supporting the calls of the local comfort women advocacy group Lila Pilipina for a full apology and the formal admission by the Japanese government of its criminal intent and systematic culpability in the massive conscription of women in occupied countries to serve as sex slaves of Japanese soldiers during the Pacific War. Brosas and De Jesus filed House Resolution 213, titled: “Resolution Expressing the Sense of the House of Representatives That the Philippine Government Urges the Government of Japan to Formally Acknowledge, Apologize for, and Accept Its Responsibility Over the Sexual Slavery of Young Women Commonly Known as Comfort Women by the Japanese Imperial Army During World War II and Provide Compensation to the Victims.”
"Duterte in asserting his separation from US military control is well aware of the social costs or militarism and war and its impact on women and children. We expect him to push the lolas' demands for justice just as he demanded accountability from the US government for its war atrocities committed in the country. He must reverse the proposals made by the Aquino administration of enacting a Visiting Forces Agreement with Japan to prevent repeating the horrors of war and sexual slavery of our women," Brosas added.
Gabriela is commemorating the 33rd anniversary of the National Day of Women's Protests on Friday to call on President Duterte to take stronger positions on genuine independent foreign relations and patriotic economic policies based on non-agression, mutual respect, and full sovereignty. The march relives the 10,000 strong mobilization led by Gabriela to challenge the dictatorship of former President Marcos.