Bongbong Marcos asks gov’t agencies to draw up aid for PH ‘comfort women’
MANILA, Philippines — President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. has directed concerned government agencies to formulate “a comprehensive response” to help Filipino “comfort women.”
The Presidential Communication Office (PCO) said Saturday that Marcos gave the instruction after a report from the United Nations (UN) Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) reveals that the Philippine government failed to assist the “Malaya Lolas,” who, as young girls and women, were forced into sexual slavery as the Japanese occupied the Philippines during World War II.
The PCO, however, did not indicate in what form – whether verbal or through a memorandum – the President gave the order to concerned government agencies.
“Government agencies concerned are formulating a comprehensive response to the CEDAW committee and will submit this within the required period. We commit to undertaking measures and finding ways to help them live better lives as an expression of our continued deep solidarity with them and of our utmost respect,” a press release from the PCO quoted Marcos as saying.
The President also said that the government sympathizes with the Malaya Lolas as they endured the physical and psychological effects of the war, and that the government recognizes their “indomitable spirit and dignity in taking this important cause forward through these years,” according to the PCO.
“I wish to underscore that the Administration upholds the primacy of human rights and values the well-being of all Filipino women and girls. We strongly uphold women’s rights and push for gender equality as inscribed in our national laws, our treaty obligations especially under the CEDAW, and other international human rights instruments,” Marcos said.
A total of 24 Malaya Lolas came forward to the UN in 2019 to raise their demands for reparation after the Philippine government failed to provide it. The resolution from the international body only came in 2023, four years after they filed a case at the UN.