MANILA - Gabriela and Lila Pilipina slammed President Benigno Aquino III for supporting Japan’s move to expand its military policy, noting the trauma that Filipinos experienced during World War II.
"It is abominable that Aquino did not even put on the agenda of his 8.8-million peso state visit in Japan the plight of Filipino comfort women and instead expressed his support for Japan to revitalize its military expansionist policy and the resurgent militarism in the whole Asia-Pacific region,” Gabriela Secretary General Joms Salvador said.
During his one-day visit in Japan Tuesday, Aquino expressed his support to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's move to amend the Japanese constitution in order to allow its military to provide support to regional security.
"We believe that nations of goodwill can benefit only if the Japanese government is empowered to assist others and is allowed to come to the aid of those in need, especially in the area of collective self-defense," Aquino said.
The statement immediately raised questions at home. Pundits said Aquino must have forgotten the historical impact of World War II, especially on the comfort women.
“The Filipino comfort women are living reminders that wars yield sexual abuses and rape of women and children and we do not want what they have experienced to happen to us again," said Salvador.
Lila Pilipina is an organization of Filipino comfort women. They held several protest actions before and after Aquino’s visit to Japan.
"Our comfort women lolas are already in their twilight years, some have already died without attaining justice. It is utterly unforgivable for Aquino to keep mum over these abuses. He is acting like Japan's best buddy while setting aside justice for his people," Salvador said.
"Our collective history as women of the world is replete with sexual abuses committed in the name of war and militarism. The resurgent militarism in Asia-Pacific, which militaristic governments of the Philippines, Japan and the US push in the pretext of containing China's military and economic muscle-flexing in the region, is a clear and present danger that women will continue to oppose," Salvador added.