Lila-Pilipina blasts Japan's protest on Laguna statue for women | Inquirer News

Lila-Pilipina blasts Japan’s protest on Laguna statue for women

/ 03:09 PM January 01, 2019

MANILA, Philippines —Lila-Pilipina, a group of “comfort women” survivors and advocates, on Tuesday slammed the Japanese government’s protest against a one-meter bronze statue of a girl unveiled in San Pedro, Laguna.

“While many expensive and sprawling Japanese memorials are being set up in different parts of the Philippines that honor the kamikaze bombers who murdered thousands of Filipinos, we are enraged that simple shrines for our suffering comfort women are being denied and made bargaining chips for financial development aid,” Sharon Cabusao-Silva, executive director of Lila-Pilipina, said in a statement.

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The group issued the remark after the Japanese Embassy in the country expressed disappointment over the statue, saying that “the establishment of a comfort woman statue in other countries, including this case, is extremely disappointing, (and) not compatible with the Japanese government.”

According to a report by the Manila Shimbun, the statue, which was unveiled last Dec. 28, shows a girl seated on a chair with a vacant chair on her right. The report added that the statue, according to its inscription, is a “monument of peace and women empowerment.”

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Cabusao-Silva said the Laguna statue “was dedicated to peace and women empowerment and deserves support from peace movements in the country and Asian nations who suffered tremendously from the Japanese imperial occupation.”

“That Japan has chosen the Philippines for its first participation in joint military exercises on a foreign shore rubs salt on the wounds it already inflicted on our history. Japan as a rising power during WW II occupied the country and subjected our people to cruelty,” Cabusao-Silva said.

“Today, it demands that we totally forget its war crimes and demands as well that we remain silent as it re-establishes itself militarily as a junior partner of US expansionism in the Asia-Pacific region,” she added.

Earlier, Malacañang defended the statue, calling it part of “freedom of expression.”

Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo also cited differences between Laguna’s statue and a similar female monument that was erected along Roxas Boulevard which was later taken down “to give way” to some improvements in the area.

READ: Laguna statue part of freedom of expression — Palace

He said the female statue erected on Roxas Boulevard was built on public land and was commissioned for memorializing a sensitive part of our history, unlike the one in Laguna, which was commissioned using private funds and was built inside a private property. /ee

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TAGS: comfort women, Freedom of expression, Japan, Lila Pilipina, Philippine news update, World War II
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